In new NSC Bill, stiffer penalties for info leak, Agong gets more power

A general view of Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A general view of Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur January 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government today introduced a new Bill that will empower the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare which areas in the country are security hot spots.

Tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat this morning, the draft to amend Section 18 of the National Security Council Act (NSC) 2016, also known as Act 776, will transfer the power of declaration currently vested in the prime minister, to the King.

“Clause 3 seeks to amend Section 18 of Act 776 to provide that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may declare any area in Malaysia as a ‘security area’ on the advice of the Council,” read an explanatory statement on the Bill.

The government also proposed amending Section 37 of the same Act to increase the jail term from two to five years on those convicted of leaking security information.

PH had in its election manifesto last year, pledged to abolish the NSC Act.

However, in August last year, the government said that the law is currently “under review”.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong did not give a direct “yes” or “no” answer when pressed by Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh (DAP) in Parliament last year, on whether or not the government will abolish the Act.

Liew said that the ACT was still under review. 

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