Putrajaya tables amendments to NSC Act

The National Security Council is responsible for defending national sovereignty and crisis and disaster management, among others. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has tabled amendments to the National Security Council Act 2016 in the Dewan Rakyat, which will see the powers of the prime minister stripped as well as enhancements in punishments under existing provisions.

The National Security Council (Amendment) Bill 2019 was tabled for first reading by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin.

Among others, it proposes that the powers to declare security zones be transferred from the prime minister to the Agong on the advice of the NSC.

However, the prime minister will remain as chairman of the council.

The bill also proposes that the council’s director of operations may, in relation to a security area, request individuals or entities to provide information or intelligence in the interest of national security.

It said individuals who fail to comply with such requests will be liable to a maximum of five years’ jail, RM100,000 fine or both, while entities can be fined up to RM200,000.

The bill also proposes heavier punishments for those who leak information or documents related to NSC, or to the affairs of the NSC, from the current maximum two years’ jail to five years.

NSC has three core functions: defending national sovereignty and strategic importance, crisis and disaster management, and border management of land, maritime and air.

Pakatan Harapan promised to repeal the act in the last general election.