KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turned up in Kuala Lumpur High Court today for a case involving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to challenge the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016. It was the first time he met his former political nemesis after 18 years.
Dr Mahathir was seen shaking hands with Datuk Seri Anwar, his former Deputy Prime Minister whom he sacked in 1998 and later accused him of sodomy. Anwar’s wife and PKR president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said in the tweet that this was the first meeting after 18 years 2 days..since 2 September 1998.
Anwar was fired as deputy prime minister on September 2, 1998, and he was later imprisoned and charged with sodomy and corruption. Dr Mahathir declined to say if he and Anwar were now friends or opposition partners. Also present today was PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang, DAP MP Teresa Kok, PKR MP R. Sivarasa and Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Hassan.
On August 2, Anwar filed an originating summons to declare the NSC Act 2016 unconstitutional. He named the Government and the National Security Council as respondents in his originating summons filed at the High Court civil registry. In the originating summons, Anwar sought to have Article 66(4) of the Federal Constitution declared unconstitutional, null and void.
The Act has been criticised by the opposition and human rights organisations on the grounds that it would give the Prime Minister absolute powers. It allows for the establishment of a National Security Council consisting of the Prime Minister as chairman, Deputy Prime Minister as deputy chairman, the Defence, Home and Communications and Multimedia ministers, Chief Secretary to the Government, Chief of Defence Forces, and Inspector-General of Police.
Article 66 (4) states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must assent to any Bill presented to him within 30 days. Article 66 (4A) goes on to say that should the Agong not assent to a Bill within the stipulated time, “it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he has assented thereto.” He also sought to restrain the second defendant, namely the NSC, from “taking or purporting to take any step or from acting or purporting to act pursuant to the National Security Council Act 2016.”