What are Malaysians, Christians and non-Christians, to make of the cryptic speech by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low, that if the government is God-fearing, then there would be no need for him to be in the cabinet?
Speaking yesterday at the Christmas high-tea reception organised by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), which should have been attended by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, Low said:
“If we have the fear of God, actually there is no need for me to be in the government.
“If we have this fear, we will be concerned for justice, good governance, integrity, the environment, fairness. We will not abuse the power that is entrusted on us ourselves as leaders.”
Deferring the very intriguing issue raised by Low whether one should be in a Cabinet when it is God-fearing or not God-fearing, the most pressing issue facing the country is one of the unfinished business of the year 2015.
This is the most iniquitous, pernicious and monstrous piece of legislation ever presented by the Najib premiership of which Low is a member of the Cabinet, the National Security Council (NSC) Bill – is Low joining the majority of Malaysians in deploring the NSC Bill or is Low subtly defending it?
After the NSC Bill was rushed through the Dewan Rakyat “like a thief at night” without proper prior notice or consultation with Members of Parliament or the civil society on the last day of budget meeting of Parliament on Dec. 3, Low said critics and opposition politicians should not worry about potential abuse of power by the NSC bill when it became law as it was created specifically for security issues, citing the Lahad Datuk incursion in Sabah on 2013.
He said that the new powers under the NSC Bill will not be used against government detractors and politicians, and that criticism against the bill was because of the trust deficit towards Putrajaya.
Low said the law would only be used for acts of terror but added that the government had to work on addressing the people’s trust deficit.
Unfortunately, both at the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, Low’s understanding for the rationale for the NSC Bill was not reflected by the speeches of Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, another one of the 10 Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, responsible for shepherding the Bill through Parliament.
Can God-fearing Low explain why the wide powers asked by by the Executive in the NSC Bill are not placed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and the proposed National Security Council parked under POTA, if terrorism, whether the Lahad Datuk variety or the new terrorist threats emanating from ISIS, is the real target of NSC Bill?
It is clear that UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders have a bifurcated understanding of the NSC Bill, one group like the God-fearing Low who believes that it was designed solely to fight the threat of terrorism, while another group like the Wanita UMNO leader, Datuk Seri Sharizat Jalil who believed the Bill had larger objectives, even to nab those out to “topple” Najib as Prime Minister, whether by democratic and constitutional means or otherwise.
Shahidan had promised the Senate that the government would “consider and scrutinise in details” the weakness, flaws and dangers of the NSC Bill raised by Members of Parliament to “improve the bill”.
Will God-fearing Low ask the Prime Minister to withhold presentation of NSC Bill to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for Royal Assent until Shahidan’s promise to Parliament to improve the Bill’s “shortcomings” had been honoured?
As the NSC Bill violates the two Rukunegara principles of the Supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law in Malaysia, Low should justify his God-fearing position in Cabinet by getting the agreement of the Prime Minister for the Bill to be further studied and amendments brought to the Special Parliament at the end of January for passage before presentation to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for Royal Assent.
Why is there an unholy haste to make the NSB Bill into law, as if any further delay will have apocalyptic consequences to the nation – when the government can wait for some three years after the Lahad Daruk before presenting such a Bill to Parliament?