US

Amnesty warns that Malaysian law gives govt 'abusive powers'

  • FILE - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, Malaysian activists from Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), background, sit on a street as they face riot police during a rally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016,  will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

    FILE - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, Malaysian activists from Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), background, sit on a street as they face riot police during a rally in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 11, 2015 file photo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses delegates during his speech at the Malaysia's ruling party United Malays National Organization's (UMNO) anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016,  will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)

    FILE - In this May 11, 2015 file photo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses delegates during his speech at the Malaysia's ruling party United Malays National Organization's (UMNO) anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, a security guard stands guard in front of Malaysia's iconic building, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016,  will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, a security guard stands guard in front of Malaysia's iconic building, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)  (The Associated Press)

Amnesty International has warned that a Malaysian security law that comes into force Monday will give the government "unchecked and abusive powers" in a blow to human rights.

The National Security Council Act gives sweeping powers to a council led by embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak, who faces pressure to resign over a financial scandal. The council can declare a state of emergency in areas deemed to be under a security threat, impose curfews and have wide powers of arrest, search and seizure without a warrant.

The law is aimed at countering terrorism threats but critics fear Najib will use it as a tool to hold on to power.

The rights group said Monday the government has "spurned checks and assumed potentially abusive powers" with the new law.