PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turned up at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Jalan Duta to attend the hearing of an application filed by PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to challenge the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.
Dr Mahathir was seen shaking hands with Anwar, his former Deputy Prime Minister whom he sacked in 1998 and later accused him of sodomy.
It was the first time that the two leaders met face-to-face in 18 years. Anwar's wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said in a tweet that the meeting between the two was their first since Sept 2, 1998.
Also in the court were PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
Anwar had filed the suit on Aug 2 to stop the operation of the National Security Council Act on the grounds that the Act is unconstitutional.
He named the Government and the National Security Council as respondents in his originating summons filed at the High Court civil registry.
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.
Under the new law: - The Prime Minister is empowered to declare an area a security area for six months at a time;
- The NSC may then direct the deployment of any security forces or any other Government entities to the area; - The Director of Operations may order the exclusion/evacuation/resettlement of persons and failure to obey may result in, if convicted, a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or jail for a term not exceeding three years or both; and
- Without a warrant, security forces can stop and search any individual, vehicle, vessel, aircraft in the security area if they suspect there is any article of being evidence of the commission of an offence; and enter and search any premise or place if they suspect that any evidence of the commission of an offence is likely to be found on the premises, and may seize any article so found. Read also: Najib gets sweeping security powers
Asked if he was making peace with Anwar since their falling-out in 1998, Mahathir said he was in court because he was interested in the case.
"This is about the NSC Act. As you know, I have written about the Act in my blog and he is doing the same thing - trying to stop the Act. So I met him and had a long chat with him about what he's doing," said Mahathir.
He declined to say if he and Anwar were now friends or Opposition partners.
"I don't know about friends. I talked to him, that's it. I endorse his actions against the NSC Act," said Mahathir.