The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong still holds the power to order country-level emergency declaration in relation to the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.
In contrary, the prime minister was only empowered to declare emergency for “an area or certain areas” under the act explained Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali.
Apandi explained that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong did not have the discretion to declare an emergency on his own but must act on the advice of the government.
“It is not like when you intend to declare (emergency), then declare.
“Here, the King must act on the advice. That is very important,” he told reporters after delivering a talk at the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (ILKAP).
The NSC Act 2016 which allows the government to hold emergency powers came into force on Aug 1, this year.
Apandi said, just like the King, the prime minister also could not arbitrarily act on his own accord for the emergency declaration.
“He (prime minister) will act on the advice of the council, which consists of various parties who are involved in the security matters of the country.
“The prime minister will act accordingly, to the advice given,” he said.
The parties include the inspector-general of police, armed forces chief and chief secretary to the government, he added.
For the emergency order by the prime minister, Apandi said Parliament would never be suspended and would still be in session.
“Under the act, the declaration, which will last for six months, must be tabled within few weeks in Parliament.
“This is to allow parliamentarians to debate on whether it is proper to declare a certain area an emergency or otherwise,” he said.
The attorney-general stressed that the NSC Act was made for the protection of the country to ensure security and public order was maintained at all times and with speed.
Apandi said the NSC act came into existence due to several realities that Malaysia had faced, citing the terrorist intrusion in Lahad Datu, Sabah in 2013 as an example.
“I observed the Lahad Datu situation…and to tackle the situation, NSC came into existence for the sake that Malaysians can live in peace and harmony. There is no ulterior motive.
“Now, we have a proper law where the law will provide the armed forces to come to the scene of intrusion or whatever dangerous situation, for the security of the country,” he added.