Does Mat Sabu want M’sia to remain a rogue Asean nation? - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Malaysiakini : "Najib’s rights are far more numerous and superior in comparison with the rights and powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.” – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the National Security Council law
COMMENT | I just don’t get it. The current Pakatan Harapan grand
poobah says because they (Harapan) thought they could not win the
elections, they made strong promises. Bersatu supreme council member
Rais Hussin claims that the promises were not plucked out of thin air
but instead the election manifesto was the efforts of a wide range of
political operatives and various stakeholders. Now the disputed debt in
this country is the Harapan excuse as to why their 100-day promises
cannot be met.
Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegeram and Rais Husin and
anyone actually reading the Harapan 100-day manifesto would understand
there is a whole load of promises that could be kept
in the first 100 days which would not incur any expenses. I once wrote
that if Harapan manages to do quarter of what they said they would do,
they would be a better government than BN.
Now it is all about rebranding or reshuffling. BN government agencies
and programmes that were supposed to bring ruination to this country
have been rebranded Harapan-style, with the expectation that nobody
cares because of the euphoria - as Rais calls it, I say Kool-Aid - is
strong and folks who think otherwise are kicked to the curb.
I get it. I really do. When people are baying for the blood of people
from the establishment and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that
certain people are needed to remain in place, even if they did
something wrong, that is the reality of politics. You do not destroy the
bureaucracy by burning it to the ground. That is stupid. However, this
should not be used as an excuse to shy away from promises made which
does not incur expenses and that gives democracy back to the people.
Now Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (popularly known as Mat Sabu) says
that the National Security Council (NSC) Act is supposed to be
“reshuffled”. It’s all about how this Act is actually a “good vehicle” for government minions to serve the state. All that is needed is a few legal provisions to be "reshuffled".
What the hell have they been giving him to smoke in the Defence
Ministry? This is especially when people like his boss, Prime Minister
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and just about all the
big guns in Harapan had previously argued that the Act would be used on
the opposition, usurped the power of the Agong and as Kit Siang claimed,
with this law, Malaysia would replace Myanmar as a rogue state.
This is what he said - “When the Najib government regards democracy
and human rights activists as bigger threats than ISIS terrorists as
envisaged by the monstrous NSC bill, Malaysia is replacing Myanmar as
the rogue nation in Asean.”
Okay, I am not an objective person when it comes to the NSC Act. My public statements
on this issue were brazen calls for street demonstrations and my
frustrations as to why this never happened are a matter of public
record. When Mahathir first started attacking this law as diminishing
the powers of the Agong, he met with pushback from Universiti Malaya
professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, who is now in the Council of Eminent
Persons, or whatever it is called.
– “In sum, the grounds of challenge against the NSC Act mentioned by
Tun Mahathir may not be sustainable in law.” But he also wrote – “The
NSC Act is an ordinary law passed by a simple majority under
Parliament’s ordinary law-making powers. It is not a law under Article
149 (to combat subversion). As such, several issues of fundamental
rights violation are relevant.”
Of course, as former Federal Court judge Sri Ram Gopal and others point out, this law did bypass the consent of the rulers.
Why keep the law?
So, two points. The first point of this law, as many Harapan
advocates claim, diminishes the power of the Agong and the second, that
it violates basic human rights and legitimises the authoritarian power
of the state in the hands of one person. So, you may say, you know what, maybe the diminishing of the powers of the royalty is a good thing, right? I am down with that.
Recent events and the shocking behaviour of royalty before and after
the elections demonstrate that perhaps we are better off with
formalising certain powers of the executive which further curtail the
powers of the royalty. Those issues which Mahathir - and yes, people
like me - claimed were being taken away from the royalty are perhaps
better left in the hands of the executive without any need of
consultation with the royalty. And if this is the case then, why retain this law? Just pass laws
which further restricts the powers of the royalty and for further more
definite issues, wait till you can amend the constitution with the
necessary two-thirds majority. Indeed, reshuffling what aspects of the
law? The gross human rights violations?
Which brings us to point two. We have a manure load of draconian laws
in this country which Harapan claimed that they would end. For heaven’s
sake, there was even waffling on the Anti-Fake News law a few weeks ago
and Harapan decided that it was not worth the public anger to retain
such laws. So, this idea of tweaking a law which Harapan had claimed was
destroying the role of the Agong and putting us into Trump s**thole
terrain is absurd.
Why even reshuffle the bad parts of this law? What does the Council
of Eminent Persons, which Shad Faruqi is part of, think of this new
development? Does Harapan want its grand poobah to have powers more
superior than the Agong? Maybe it should be this way. After all, a
former Umno prime minister, and now Harapan big cheese, has been doing
that for years, right?
We have enough “security laws” to deal with the type of warfare –
including psychological – against the kind of extremism – Islamic – that
poses a danger to this country. Not to mention, willing partners and
assets which have been sidelined for far too long, because the former
regime was mired in corruption scandals.
I'm glad there are Harapan leaders willing to go on record
stating clearly that this law has to be removed. For the life of me, I
cannot fathom why Mat Sabu would even consider such a move. Maybe some
folk in Harapan really do not understand why this piece of “monstrous”
legislation needs to be removed or maybe, just maybe, they think it is a
good thing, now that there is really no opposition in this country.