New bill gives Najib extensive powers

Malaysia heading towards an authoritarian regime, warn lawyers and NGOs

Kuala Lumpur

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak is set to extend his considerable grip on power after the National Security Council (NSC) Bill, which gives vast executive powers to a newly created statutory body that he will head as chairman, was rushed through the House of Representatives late Thursday.

Local and international civil society groups are appealing to the Senate to stay its approval and requesting the Malaysian monarch not to give his assent to the bill on the grounds that it gives the council considerable discretionary powers and is open to abuse.

The chances of success are slim, however, given that the Senate has mainly functioned as a rubber stamp institution while the king's...

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