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Malaysian Studies (The Federal Constitution)


YJiun Tan

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Malaysian Studies (The Federal Constitution)

Malaysian Studies
Federal Constitution
Some Important Provisions
and Amendments
State of Constitution
Constitution Amendments
Ways to acquire
Special Positions of Bumiputras
What is the Constitution?
How is the Constitution
General Information on the Constitution
- The principles which determine how a state is established and ruled.

- It is connected with matters on how general decisions are made and how authority is distributed among government institutions.

- It also outlines the limits of the government’s authority and means of selection along with the rulers’ appointments.
- Jus Soli
- Jus Sanguinis
- Marriage
- Naturalization
In relation to the special position of bumiputras, Article 153 requires the King, acting on Cabinet advice, to exercise his functions under the Constitution and federal law:

(a) generally, in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special position of the Bumiputras
- Constitution amendment can be made by parliament.
- 3 ways to amend the constitution under parliament act.
2/3 majority in the parliament with the consent of the conference of rulers
2/3 majority parliament for certain cases that deal with Sabah and Sarawak with the consent of Yang di Pertua .
2/3 majority without any approval or consent from anybody outside the parliament
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia was formed as the result of the sharing of the states which make the Federation of Malaysia.
The Constitution also clarifies the relationship between the Federal government and the State government. There are seven chapters outlining this aspect, namely:
a) The division of legislative power
b) The division of ruling power
c) The division of financial burden
d) Land
e) National development
f) Distribution of Federal government to the
g) National Council for the local government
Malaysian Studies
MPW 2133
The Federal Constitution

Tan Yih Jiun
Sharifah Diana
Nur Shazlyn Izura
Attd. Number
Group D - 14
Student ID
... and its' functions?
The highest resource of laws in a country.
To coordinate the ruling of a country.
Plays the role as the guideline of formations of laws, be it for the rulers or the people.
Seeks to provide assurance and security to the people.
... and its' aims?
Generating a Form of Fair Government
To prevent power abuse by the rulers
An instrument for Resolving Problems
Securing the sustenance of the country
Ensuring the peace and stability of the country
19th century- by the British colonials. They were in power upon Federated Malay States (FMS)
1948 Federal Arrangement- A centralized government would consist of a British High Commissioner, an Executive Council and a Federal Legislative Council.
The Legislative Council would take on official members and several non- official members appointed by the British High Commissioner.
Outcome of this agreement witnessed a new constitution for Malaya made effective on 1st February 1948.
After 2nd World War, Japan retreated from Malaya and the British returned. The introduction of the Malayan Union in April 1946 had been widely opposed by the Malays.
After the 1955 Election, the Alliance Party demanded that the British organize a Constitutional Conference.
The conference managed to establish a Federal Constitution of Malaya Commission chaired by Lord Reid, Sir Ivor Jennings, Sir William Makell , B. Malik and Judge Abdul Hamid.
In the conference, it was proposed that a liberated commission was set up to formulate a constitution for the Federation of Malaya as the first step towards independence.
The Reid Commission held a referendum amongst the Malayan citizens including civilians, political parties, general associations, etc. In October 1956, the Reid Commission succeeded in obtaining 131 suggestions from the Malayan citizens.
As a whole, the Reid Commission adopted the suggestions from the Alliance Party as the basis of the formation of the Federal Constitution of Malaya. In the end, the draft of the Federal Constitution of Malaya was formed in 31st August 1957. Thus, the Federation of Malaya became a dignified and independent country.
The 1957 Federal Constitution of Malaya has been effectively implemented up until today and several amendments have been put into practice. An example of an amendment was the Malaysian Act approved in 1963 amending Article 1 (1) and (2) for the inclusion of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, as well as changing the name of the Federation of Malaya to the Federation of Malaysia
Types of
Written Constitution
Unwritten Constitution
collected constitution and arranged in a document
3 main attributes:
1. Sturdy and difficult to be amended unless there is an allocation in the Constitution which allows it to be done.
2. The Parliament has the authority to enact the law towards Articles contained in the Constitution, but the Parliament cannot enact laws which go against the fundamental freedom.
3. The court has the authority to define
the laws and protect the Constitution.
covers all the principles that have not been collected on paper/ in a document.
Ex: the Parliamentary Act, decisions of the court.
Consists of 131 Articles which include diverse aspects of administration, namely the basic freedom, the authority, and status of the Yang Di- Pertuan Agong, the exclusivity of the Malay rulers and the Malay rights, issue of the Malay language, religion, citizenship, judiciary, etc.
Can be regarded as a document containing all the laws and basic rules of the country.
The Federal Constituency of Malaysia
Hj. Mohd Jali, N., Redzuan, M., Abu Samah, A., & Hj. Mohd Rashid, I. (2010). Malaysian Studies Nationhood and Citizenship. Petaling Jaya: Prentice Hall.

Nordin, M., & Hussiin, H. (2011). Malaysian Studies. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford Fajar. (pg 150-152, pg 156-158)


Islam as an official religion is one of the criteria in Malaysian constitution.
Freedom of religion as a multi religious society but this principle is in no way contrary to the principle that Islam is the religion of the federation.
Article 11(1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion.
Article 11(1) allows the state to legislate for the control or restriction of the propagation of any religions doctrine among person professing Islam.
Every religious group has
the right to:
manage its own religious affairs
establish and maintain institution for religious or charitable purpose
acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with the law.
Art 12(2) gives every religions group the right to establish and maintain institution for the education of children in its own religion and allows the federation establish or maintain institution providing instruction in Islam.
All citizens have the right to assemble peacefully and without arms
According to Peaceful Assembly Act 2012,
The constitution provides freedom of assembly, but also provide power to Parliament to impose laws of restrictions on the freedom of assembly in the interests of national security or public order.
Freedom of Assemblies
Restrictions can be imposed by Parliament
disrupts public order
against national
Difference between peaceful assembly and street protest
An open air assembly which begins with a meeting at as specified place and consists of walking in a mass march or rally for the purpose of objecting or advancing a particular clause or case
peaceful assembly
An intentional and temporary assembly of a number of persons in a public place, whether or not the assembly is moving or at a particular place
street protest
Assemblies that are deemed peaceful:
Specified weddings (eg weddings)
Assemblies at designated place
Assemblies that went through notification process
Assemblies that are illegal:
Assemblies at/or 50m from prohibited places
Street protest
Freedom of Speech
Every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression
The sedition Act was originally enacted in 1948. The act makes it an offence to utter or publish words which have a seditious tendency, defined as:
Bringing into hatred or contempt or exciting disaffection against any Ruler or Government
Bringing into hatred or contempt the administration of justice;
Raising discontent or dissatisfaction among subject
Promoting ill will and hostility among races
following a 1970 emergency-law amendment to the Act in the wake of the 1969 riots, another item was added to the definition, namely:
Question any matter, rights ,status, position, privilege or protected by Part or Articles 152,153 or 181 (the ‘sensitive issues’)
The judge must decide whether the words have a seditious tendency.
(b) specifically, to reserve quotas for Bumiputras in the following areas:

positions in the federal civil service.
scholarships, exhibitions, and educational, training or special facilities.
permits or licenses for any trade or business which is regulated by federal law (and the law itself may provide for such quotas).
places in institutions of post secondary school learning such as universities, colleges and polytechnics.
Q & A Session
1. Choose the incorrect answer about the Federal Constitution of Malaysia
A. Functioning as the highest law of the country
B. Can be amended by anyone
C. The source of reference for all legislation
D. Other laws must be of the same level with it
Article 71 (1)
Establishes that if Parliament finds that any allocation in the state has not been abided by, regardless of anything contained in this Constitution, Parliament can enact laws for the allocation to be obeyed.
Allocates that the Federal government secures the rights of the ruler to inherit and hold, benefit from and perform the rights of the Constitution and the advantage of the state following the State’s Constitution.
Article 71 (3)
In the Eight Table, two main
allocations are named:
- Part 1 – fixed allocation and
financial allocation
- Part 11 – temporary allocation
Most Malay States have fixed allocations. The fixed allocation outlines that a state must have:
a) a King /State Governor
b) a State Executive Council
c) a State Legislative Authority
d) a State Legislative Assembly
The Amendment of the State Constitution
The allocations of the State of Constitution are amendable by the state laws, and it cannot be amended in any other way.
Among the allocations of the State Constitution that cannot be amended are:
a) The government’s heir to the throne and
the position of Malay dignitaries cannot be
amended by the State Legislative Body.
b) A draft of law for any amendment made
to the State constitution other than:
any amendment arising from a law which allocates the number of members appointed for the state legislative body.
any amendment that will coordinate the State Constitution with any allocations deemed necessary stated in the Eight Table of the Federal Constitution (if it is made after the State Legislative Assembly is selected according to Session 4).
All the issues that follow cannot be approved by the State Legislative Assembly, except when the draft of law is approved at the second reading and the third reading and has gained votes as much as two-thirds from the total number of members. Nonetheless, it is stated in paragraph (a) and (b) they do not need the extra two-thirds votes
Some State Constitutions require approval from certain groups of people towards amendments concerning:
Appointment and the characteristics of the heir of the throne, the queen or the deputy king or the members of the Council of Acting Rulers.
Dismissal, quitting, throne abdication or the heirs.
The appointment and characteristics of the ruling dignitaries or the dignitaries of the Malay customs and members of the Advisory Council regarding religion or custom and bodies alike.
Matters for holding, arranging, validating and dismissing the position, title, nobility, grandness and the grants of the Malay customs and making orders on the royal palace and the hall.
The Parliament may amend a State Constitution temporarily on the grounds that the state is in the state of emergency.
There were criticisms made that the Constitution as a pure document should not be amended and the public is requested to respect it.
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia has a lot in common with the Indian Constitution which is lengthy and rather detailed. The Constitution of this country is an agreement of partnership that arranges the relationships between the federal and the state members alongside that fact that there are things that enable it to be amended, following a majority vote. Through the events that have happened in this country, when certain allocations are found to be far from satisfactory or no longer suitable to the current situation, therefore it can be amended. It is seen here that the constitution is open to amendment when the need for it arises.
2. The supremacy of the Malaysian Constitution is above that of Parliament and the judiciary. The Constitution gives legislative powers to certain parties for certain purposes. All the statements below are correct in terms of the giving of legislative powers by the Constitution, with the exception of
A. Parliament (for making laws)
B. The State Legislative Council (for making enactments)
C. The Council of Rulers (to pass the laws)
D. The court (to judge on the conflict of laws)
Group D - 1
Group D - 7
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