Malaysia passes controversial national security bill

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 4 (IANS) The National Security Council Bill, 2015, was passed by the lower house of Malaysia’s parliament during the year’s final session.

The bill was passed by voice vote late Thursday night after a heated debate, the Malaysian Star reported.

Cabinet minister Shahidan Kassim said the law is necessary to enable better coordination and a uniform response in the event the country is faced with security threats.

He said the aim of the law was to better coordinate and allow uniform response in the event of a security threat.

The minister also said that the new law would not prevent a magistrate’s court from holding an inquest into deaths occurring in a declared security area, and assured lawmakers that the law does not contravene the principles laid down in the federal constitution.

During the debate, opposition members urged the government to withdraw the bill and refer it to parliament’s Select Committee for proper consideration.

The members argued that the law would give absolute powers to the prime minister.

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