KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18, 2015:

Prominent lawyer and electoral reforms activist Datuk Ambiga Srenevasan says the recently-passed National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 is illegal and not workable.

She said the bill did not provide for the issue of chain of command, except in contravention with the Federal Constitution.

Ambiga pointed out that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but under Clause 21 of the new bill, the Prime Minister had command of the armed forces.

“Someone who shouldn’t be issuing command to the armed forces would be doing so.

“Command is a very sensitive thing for the army, key to the way in which the army functions,” she said during a forum on NSC Bill and security reform agenda.

She noted the bill empowered the NSC to command the army, and that violated the Federal Constitution.

She also highlighted that Under Article 137, there shall be an armed forces council under the command of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“But NSC is mixing them all up, police and armed forces, the chain of command is very vague.

“The NSC is also talking about perceived threats, an operation other than a military one whereby they are reducing the level of the threat required but still bringing in the army.”

She also questioned whether the NSC would take responsibility for the command that they gave to the army.

Ambiga said there was no answer to it as they were not following the chain of command.

She also pointed out that since there were no checks and balances in the legislation, no one should have these powers because it was dangerous.

“The Prime Minister can make the final decision and ignore the council’s advice.

“It’s the worst piece of legislation drafted, it’s about power and not security.

“Let’s hope for the bill to be thrown back to the Dewan Rakyat for further clarification.”

She noted that all the council did was advise and the Prime Minister didn’t need to take their advice, a declaration which was in force might be renewed for another six months again and again.

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