Channel News Asia (2/8/2016) Melissa Goh
KUALA LUMPUR: A day after the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act came into force, jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim filed an application in court on Tuesday (Aug 2) through his lawyer N Surendren to nullify the act that is said to be unconstitutional.
Anwar’s lawyer said he is also seeking an injunction to stop the implementation of the act that is said to give extensive powers to Prime Minister Najib Razak – who chairs the national security council – to designate any security areas and direct the police and armed forces to conduct arrest, search and seizure without warrants.
Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah who is also president of Parti Keadilan said the conference of rulers’ earlier request for a thorough review of the NSC Act must be respected.
“Anwar as the opposition leader is taking the lead, showing us the way forward. We must fight back, the conference of rulers specifically asked for a review but it wasn’t heeded, this is important,” she added when asked for the jailed opposition leader’s response.
Any action by NSC will also not be subjected to legal proceeding or actions.
While the government says the act will enable the various enforcement agencies to coordinate their responses in the event of a terror attack, civil rights groups and opposition leaders warn that the new act is easily open to abuse as too much powers are concentrated in hands of the prime minister.
Furthermore, the act is said to have usurped the powers vested in the traditional rulers as commander-in-chief of the armed forces under the federal constitution.
The NSC bill which was tabled in December 2015, was rushed through parliament and passed without obtaining royal ascent.
Under an amendment to the constitution, an act automatically becomes law after its gazetted for 30 days.