Legal Updates : National Security Council Bill approved

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 was approved by the Dewan Rakyat tonight after a marathon six hour proceeding. The house voted in favour of the bill, with 107 in favour and 74 against the bill, in a bloc voting at 8.50pm.
In his winding speech Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Shahidan Kassim, said the bill has no power to declare emergency in the country. “Under the bill, the government will identify security areas. The King declares for emergency. He also said the bill will help in coordination of duties between the police, army and the maritime authorities such as in the case of Esscom in Sabah.
Earlier, in tabling the second reading of the bill, he said Malaysia had gone through a challenging period in preserving its sovereignty as well as maintaining its peace and order. “The country’s landscape is becoming more complex and dynamic in the form of threats from state actors and non-state actors which can lead to disruption of the country’s peace,” he said. Shahidan said that in the past, the nation faced challenges from colonialism, foreign powers, communists, secessionists and racial uprisings like May 13.
“Now we are facing challenges that are multi dimensional, internally and externally. For instance, the attack on the nation’s cyberspace, its peace, democracy, economy, maritime interests, as well as cross border crime. The complexity of security issues ands crimes shows a need for the country to strengthen its mechanisms with regards to security policies, he said.
Shahidan added that there needed to be a paradigm shift so that the nation is able to face such threats at present and in the future. He said that after the abolishment of the Emergency Ordinance act 1971 in 2011, the administrative nature of NSC was not effective in ensuring security of the country.
Equipping the NSC with wider powers will also put it in par with similar organs in other nations such as that in India, Japan, Philippines, Russia and Vietnam.

By: B. Suresh Ram, Azura Abas and Minderjeet Kaur
Source: The News Straits Times
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