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Putrajaya to amend 'tyrannical' NSC Act, not repeal it

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PARLIAMENT | The Pakatan Harapan government says that the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 will be amended, despite an electoral campaign promise to abolish the law. 

The NSC Act was listed in its manifesto as among the several "tyrannical" acts enacted by the previous BN administration.

"The government has studied the NSC Act thoroughly, and decided that it will only be amended and not abolished," Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Hanipa Maidin said in a written parliament reply dated Monday. 

He added that the amendments are being coordinated by the NSC, Prime Minister's Department and Attorney-General's Chambers. 

Hanipa was responding to a question from Ramkarpal Singh (Harapan-Bukit Gelugor), who asked if the government would repeal the "cruel" act. 

However, Hanipa did not explain the reason for the about-turn.

Prior to being appointed as the deputy de facto law minister, the Sepang MP was among those who urged the Harapan government to abide by its manifesto and abolish the NSC Act as it was "unconstitutional."

Before the 14th general election, Harapan lawmakers had heavily criticised the NSC Act as impinging on the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong because it would grant the council's chair emergency powers. 

Critics also said the act bypassed the Conference of Rulers, and that the previous government had not obtained the royal assent before gazetting it as law. 

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had filed a judicial review to challenge the constitutionality of the Act in August 2016, a day after it came into force under Article 66(4A) of the Federal Constitution.

The case is still pending and will be heard at the Kuala Lumpur High Court next year.

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