The seven Ministers and 25 Members of Parliament from Sarawak Barisan Nasional would have made a great difference and stopped the National Security Council Bill – the greatest threat to the basic rights of Sarawak autonomy since the formation of Malaysia 52 years ago – in its tracks if they had spoken out against the Bill.
The National Security Council Bill is the most monstrous piece of legislation that I have seen since my election to Parliament 46 years ago in 1969, for it would confer the Prime Minister with dictatorial powers, and in areas which are declared as “security areas”, the Prime Minister’s National Security Council would be able to do whatever it deems necessary (which is completely unheard-of in modern democratic governance) but also confers immunity for whatever violations and atrocities against human rights, even involving deaths, committed under the auspices of the National Security Council.
This is because the National Security Council Bill specifically provides that there would be no accountability whatsoever (everything will be protected under the Official Secrets Act) and there is even no need for post mortems in cases of mysterious deaths in security areas.
The most objectionable part of the National Security Council bill is that it would vest the Prime Minister with dictatorial powers at the expense of the constitutional provisions about the prerogative of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to proclaim an emergency, the powers of the Cabinet which must decide whether the Prime Minister should advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency, and the autonomy rights of Sarawak and Sabah.
In fact, the National Security Council Bill confers on the Prime Minister the powers and prerogative to evade the constitutional position of the Yang di Pertuan Agong as the Prime Minister would be conferred the statutory authority to exercise emergency powers without a proclamation of emergency by the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
The National Security Council Bill is a preposterous and monstrous law for the definition of “national security” is so open-ended that it covers virtually all issues under the sun, and not confined to strictly security issues like the threats from Islamic State (IS) or intrusion from Sulu terrorists from southern Philippines.
“National security” under the National Security Council Bill includes “sovereignty, territorial integrity, defence, socio-political stability, economic stability, strategic resources, national unity and other interests relating to national security”.
I challenge the seven Ministers and 25 Members of Parliament from Sarawak Barisan Nasional (and this applies equally to the six Ministers and 22 Members of Parliament from Sabah Barisan National) to publicly defend and justify their support for the National Security Council Bill which erodes the autonomy rights of Sarawak and Sabah, and explain what are the issues which are excluded from the wide and catch-all definition of “national security” in the National Security Council Bill.
(Speech at the opening of the DAP Northern Sarawak election operation centre in Senadin, Miri on Saturday, 5th December 2015 at 10 am)