At the International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism (IDC) yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he made no apology for stopping at nothing to ensure the security and safety of Malaysians, referring in particular to the slew of draconian laws in the arsenal of the Malaysian government.
Najib’s statement to the IDC, aimed at discussing and boosting co-operation between security agencies from ASEAN and nine strategic partners including Australia, France, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States, as well as discussing policies of the respective countries on deradicalisation and countering extremism, had failed to grasp the full spectrum of the threats, brutality and barbarity posed by movements like Islamic State (IS).
While far-reaching security laws are necessary, Najib and all world leaders must never lose sight of the fact that good governance, the end of rampant corruption and widespread socio-economic injustices like Najib’s twin mega scandals are the best antidotes to fight extremism and terrorism, including Islamic State (IS).
It is unfortunate that Najib had named the National Security Council (NSC) Bill as one of the necessary draconian laws to fight terrorism, as the threat of terrorism and in particular the Islamic State (IS) was never mentioned in Parliament, whether in Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara, as the raison d’etre why the NSC Bill was necessary.
The National Security Council Bill vests in the Prime Minister vast extraordinary powers usurping even the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, as the Prime Minister will have the power to declare “security areas” where emergency powers could be exercised without having first to seek the consent of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency.
Can Najib explain why at no stage of the parliamentary debates on the National Security Council Bill, whether in Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara, whether during the presentation or winding-up of the debate on the Bill, the Minister responsible for shepherding the Bill never mentioned a word on the threat from Islamic State (IS).
This is the strongest proof that the National Security Council (NSC) was never formulated to solely deal with terrorist threats like those posed by Islamic State (IS), but to give the Prime Minister extensive and dangerous powers to launch crackdowns against peaceful and democratic dissent.
This is why the National Security Council (NSD) Bill is such a vile and obnoxious law, for it is not confined to deal with threats like those posed by Islamic State (IS) but to deal with peaceful and democratic dissent.
As far as is known, although the NSC Bill has been rammed through both Houses of Parliament last month, it has yet to become law as it has not yet been given the Royal Assent by the Yang di Pertuan Agong and gazetted into law.
I call on the Prime Minister to withhold presentation of the NSC Bill to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for Royal Assent, and instead to first convene a Round-Table Conference of all political parties, NGOs and NGIs as well as all representative civil society organisations to reach a national consensus as to what is the best way to deal with the threat of extremist and violent organisations like IS, and whether the NSC Bill should first be amended to ensure that civil liberties, human rights and other legitimate activities on peaceful and democratic dissent would not be jeopardized by draconian and repressive laws.
(Speech at the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” kopitiam ceramah in Bakri parliamentary constituency in Muar on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 9 am)