12/03/2013: While we appreciate the need for the Special Security Area (SSA) from Kudat to Tawau in view of the Sulu Invasion, the PM should also clearly explain and define the terms of reference of the SSA so that the citizens can understand how it works and how it affects their everyday lives,” said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief.
“Does the PM have the authority to declare Kudat to Tawau as a “Special Security Area”? If so, under what authority?”
Under the Federal Constitution, the Prime Minister has no legislative power, not even in an emergency situation. The power lies with the Yang DiPertuan Agong and Parliament.
Under Article 150, “if the Yang DiPertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.”
Under Article 149, it is for Parliament to pass the necessary laws if there is any “action has been taken or threatened by any substantial body of persons, whether inside or outside the Federation - …(f) which is prejudicial to public order in, or the security of, the Federation or any part thereof,”
Even if the SSA is properly declared, the PM must clearly spell out the terms of reference and the rules governing the SSA as it affects nearly half of Sabah and Sabahans and their daily lives.
There will be legal, socio-economic and political implications and many questions are raised.
Is the SSA the equivalent of a security area in an emergency? What are the rules and the laws applicable? What are the restrictions on people going about their daily lives? How long will the SSA last?
Politically, serious implications are involved given that the Federal Parliament and the State Assembly tenures have expired or will expire soon and general elections are due anytime soon.
The area from Kudat to Tawau involves 11 Parliamentary seats and 27 DUN seats and the Parliamentary seats affect the whole of Malaysia, not just Sabah, as the Malaysian Parliament is a combined parliament including seats from Sabah.
Will the Parliamentary seats and the DUN seats be excluded from coming general elections? Will political events be affected and how will the rules impact political functions and attendances?
Whatever, the decision, it cannot be denied that it has affected the sentiments of the people in Sabah, perhaps in West Malaysia as well. It has definitely shaken the confidence of Sabahans.
Will the 5 additional battlions of army and police personnel be voting in Sabah constituencies and directly determine the future and destiny of genuine Sabahans? Is this a ploy by Umno/BN to retain and control Sabah and its oil and rich resources? This is on everyone’s mind given the unending reports that Umno members including an Umno branch chairman and information chief were involved in the intrusion and that many of the intruders have ICs and are Umno members. This was not specifically denied by the Prime Minister during his press conference in Tawau when confronted by the international reporters.
The hasty manner in which the SSA was announced shows it is probably a knee-jerk reaction and made at the spur of the moment and not clearly thought out.
The PM owes it to his own integrity and to the people of Sabah and all Malaysians to be forthright and transparent and explain in detail the declaration of the Special Security Area.