Bill to amend NSC Act withdrawn

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

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya today withdrew the controversial bill to amend the National Security Council (NSC) Act which allows the prime minister to declare security zones, among others.

The proposal to withdraw the bill was made by deputy law minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and supported by Deputy Works Minister Mohd Anuar Tahir.

The amendment bill was tabled by Hanipa for first reading at the last Dewan Rakyat sitting. It was slotted to be tabled for a second reading at the current sitting.

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

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

The bill also proposed 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 also proposed heavier punishments for those who leak information or documents related to NSC, from the current maximum of 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 resources.

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

The NSC Act, enacted during Najib Razak’s administration, allowed the prime minister to declare “security zones” where security forces could arrest individuals without a warrant, and seize property.