PETALING JAYA: A rights group today warned the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government not to go back on its promise to repeal the National Security Council (NSC) Act, after Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu hinted that the controversial law which was opposed by the coalition could remain.
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said not only could the NSC law lead to abuse, its constitutionality was questionable due to its vague definitions.
“There must be cogent reasons and the strongest justification in order to take the serious step of departing from any manifesto promise. In this case, there is absolutely no justification whatsoever,” said LFL executive director Latheefa Koya.
The act was passed in Parliament in late 2015 amid protests from then-opposition leaders who said it was a “death sentence” on democracy.
The law among others empowers the NSC to declare a state of emergency in a designated area and grant unprecedented powers to security forces to make arrests and conduct forced evacuation. Members of the council are also protected from prosecution.
Despite PH’s strong opposition to the act, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu hinted that the government would decide whether to retain or abolish it.
Following this, rights group Suaram urged the government to stick to its election promise to repeal the act.
Retired judge Gopal Sri Ram too labelled the act as “unconstitutional”.