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Malaysia

Anwar files suit to declare NSC Act ‘unconstitutional’, stop council

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has filed an injunction against the NSC in an attempt to stop it from exercising its power. ― File picKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 ― Former Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim filed today an originating summons to declare the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 unconstitutional as it came into force without royal assent.

Anwar, who is currently serving a five-year jail term for sodomy, also filed an injunction against the NSC in an attempt to stop it from exercising its power.

His wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told reporters at the Court Complex here that the Opposition had to act “and do something” to stop the NSC Act from being utilised “because it’s important”.

“Anwar as the true leader of the opposition has come and shown the way forward and the way we have to fight back to get our rights for our country.

“So in the same way you see even the council of rulers [sic] actually objected, actually asked for a review of this act before it was gazetted but the government didn't pay heed and went ahead,” said Dr Wan Azizah who is also incumbent Opposition leader.

In the originating summons, Anwar sought to have Article 66 (4) of the Federal Constitution declared unconstitutional, null and void.

Article 66 (4) states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must assent to any Bill presented to him within 30 days. Article 66 (4A) goes on to say that should the Agong not assent to a Bill within the stipulated time, "it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he has assented thereto."

He also sought to restrain the second defendant, namely the NSC, from "taking or purporting to take any step or from acting or purporting to act pursuant to the National Security Council Act 2016."

Several other PKR lawmakers were also present at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today including Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, Subang MP R. Sivarasa and Padang Serai MP N. Surendran, all of whom reiterated their opposition to the "draconian" act.

They said it was an inevitability that the law would be used, as there was no reason to enact a piece of legislation if there was no intention to use it.

The NSC Act came into force yesterday after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the announcement in a June 24 federal gazette that was published on the e-Federal Gazette site on July 14.

The NSC Act did not receive express royal assent and was gazetted without amendments despite the Conference of Rulers saying last February that some of the provisions should be refined.

The NSC Act proposes to allow the National Security Council — which would be chaired by the prime minister — to take command of the country’s security forces and impose strict policing of areas deemed to face security risks.

Malaysia’s three law associations — the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Association — expressed concern last January about the law concentrating “enormous” executive and emergency powers in the NSC and in the prime minister.

They also pointed out that for the government to hold emergency powers without the need to declare emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, it would usurp the authority assigned to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.