What Can You Do To Stop The New NSC Bill From Becoming A Law?
At 10.55pm, 3 December, the Dewan Rakyat passed BN's new NSC Bill on a voice vote after nearly 7 hours of heated debates.
The Opposition failed to stop the controversial Bill at the policy stage debate in a bloc vote with 107 voting for & 74 against the Bill.
So what can you do to stop the NSC Bill from becoming a law?
The NSC Bill still has to be passed by the Dewan Negara before it becomes a law.
You can put pressure by voicing out to every BN MP that you are not going to vote/elect them in the next GE14 because of their vote for the NSC Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, said Animah Kosai, a legal counsel in the oil & gas industry who briefly served on the KL Bar Committee, in a Facebook post, adding that the law-making system in Malaysia is based on the Westminster Parliamentary System, meaning laws are made after going through the two houses of Parliament - the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) and the Dewan Negara (Senate).
Animah, who gave SAYS her consent to use her Facebook post, pointed out that the Dewan Negara sits next week from Monday for 10 days till 22 December and is scheduled to start with the Supply Bill (next year's Budget).
"It is anticipated that we might have a week's breathing space before the NSC Bill is tabled, giving us Malaysians a short window to pressure our ministers to withdraw the Bill from Dewan Negara," she wrote. "There are precedents where Bills have been withdrawn after being passed by Dewan Rakyat due to public pressure so there is still a chance.
Why ministers and not the senators?
Under Article 68 of the Constitution, the Dewan Negara has no power to throw away the Bill. It can only delay the Bill for 12 months. Moreover, the senators may not dare defy the Whip, but the ministers can influence the withdrawal of the Bill, argues Animah.
According to Universiti Selangor lecturer Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, there are ways through which Malaysians can count on to prevent the country from falling into a dictatorship and becoming a police state
The law expert, who sees the Bill as an affront to the Constitution, said we can go to the Federal Court as a last resort in the bid to kill the bill. Abdul Aziz, however, is hoping that the Senate will either vote it down or at least delay the bill for 12 months.
"It cannot stop the bill, but the 12-month period will allow debate and all sorts of political manoeuvrings to stop the bill or highlight the controversial provisions of the bill to enlighten the public," Aziz told The Malaysian Insider.
If the Senate gives its stamp of approval to the Bill, which is most likely to happen given that the Dewan Negara is dominated by the ruling BN (Malaysian Senate has 70 Senators of which 55 are BN Senators appointed by the PM), then it is up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to stop the bill as it would be presented to him for his Royal assent under Article 66(5) of the Constitution.
If you're thinking why would the Agong want to sign a Bill that gives away his power?
The thing is, as Animah correctly points out in her Facebook post, the Agong actually doesn't have a choice. Article 66(4A) of the Federal Constitution states that a bill will become law after 30 days, even if the Agong does not assent to it.
However, should the Agong be brave enough to intervene and refuse to sign the Bill, we may have a Constitutional crisis
"The Agong may refuse to sign the bill and this will provoke a crisis. This is because, in 1994 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad amended the Constitution allowing Parliament to bypass the Agong. But the problem with that 1994 amendment was that it was not consented to by the Conference of Rulers as required by the Constitution.
Hence, there are doubts over the legality of the amendment imposed by Dr Mahathir. But it is good to have a crisis so that we can re-open the debate as to what was done by Dr Mahathir during his rule," Aziz told The Malaysian Insider.
What if the Agong declines to intervene?
Malaysians will then have to rely on the Federal Court as a last resort by challenging the NSC Bill there on Constitutional grounds, urging it to be declared illegal, said Aziz.
Animah also says the same in her Facebook post, adding that while "some of you are jaded by the Judiciary" we must try all legitimate means at our disposal.
She further wrote that Malaysia has "an activist Sultan, and we all know who that is" who along with other Rulers can pressure the BN government on the NSC Bill. "Other state Rulers also have a conscience, for example, Perak, NS, T'ganu and Kelantan. As their Rakyat, we can appeal to them."
Additionally, you can sign this Change.org petition:
At the time of writing this, the petition has been signed by over 7,250 people.
While that number may NOT be much, it is still better than nothing. The key, what with the short period of time we the people have on our hands, is to make the discussion around the NSC Bill as viral as humanly possible.
Sign. Share. Encourage others to do the same. Use the social media to spread it. Explain to those who see no point in this petition as to how it can help in at least making our elected representatives listen to us.
To paraphrase the words of Dylan Thomas:
"Do not let the Bill pass without a fight. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."