Oh wait a minute! What am I talking about? Hasn’t that always been the impression that the government has given out?
We have had the Internal Security Act (ISA) for decades which was then abolished only to see the implementation of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
It is a law ‘to provide for special measures relating to security offenses for the purpose of maintaining public order and security and for connected matters’.
Then, there's the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 which was passed in Parliament earlier in April, this year.
It is a law that is to ‘prevent the conduct or support for acts of violence involving terrorist organisation of a foreign country and for the control of persons affected by such act’.
What is worrying about this act is that -- like the ISA -- it still means that the cops have the rights to detain individuals without trial and based only on suspicion (just like SOSMA as well).
And not only that, it also does not allow any judicial review which means that no court can overturn any decisions made by the POTA authorities.
To add to all of these worries, our Parliament tabled another big brother law just this week during the current sitting - The National Security Council (NSC) 2015 Bill.
This bill, if passed, will see the government’s powers to deal with issues thought to be detrimental to national security increasing extensively.
The NSC will be chaired by the Prime Minister and it will have the authority to:
- search property and arrest people without warrants;
- declare areas a security threat for up to six months; and
- provide the police, volunteer reserve, auxiliary police, military and maritime authorities ‘special powers’
issue curfew orders and take control of government entities
Basically, once the bill is passed (and it is assumed that it will be in March 2016), the NSC will the main authority when it comes to any matters related to national security.
In just this past three years, we have seen so much government activity over national security. Are we really that threatened in this country? Or is it just the government feeling the threat?
As it is, many of the actions taken under either of the acts have been perceived as political in nature, for example, the detention of the deemed whistle-blower, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer, Matthias Chang.
What Khairuddin did (Chang is just his lawyer, mind you) is to raise questions and make reports about issues concerning 1MDB and this is hardly a matter of national security.
The open-endedness of the different laws basically means that anything can be considered a matter of national security. It really gives power to those who are interpreting the law.
Is this something to worry about?
If you ask me, then yes, I am definitely worried about the current state of affairs regarding all of these laws.
The views expressed here are strictly those of the author's and does not necessarily reflect Astro AWANI's.