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Topic 3

System of Government and

National Administrative
Malaysia’s System and Structure of Government

• The structure of government refers to the stratifications in which

one division works to maintain and render more efficiently the
administration of the country.
• The federal government is empowered to administer the whole of
the Malaysian Federation that was formed on 16 September 1963,
through the power embodied in the Constitution of the Federation
of Malaysia.
• The government is empowered to rule and manage the
administration at the state level with power invested by or based
on the Federal Constitution as the highest laws of the land.
a) Specialization of Power (Separation of Power)

• Malaysia practices parliamentary democracy.

• Theoretically, the powers of the three bodies; the executive, the
legislative and the judiciary do not overlap and each has its own
• This means there is no interference between the bodies.
• The aim is to ensure the ensure the neutrality or objectivity of each
of the bodies.
• Each body cannot influence the decision or action taken by
another body.
• This concept is known as specialization or separation of power.
b) The Executive

▪ The executive authority of the Federation is vested in the Yang di-

Pertuan Agong but, as a constitutional monarch, he must act in
accordance with the advice of the Cabinet, except in limited
matters such as the giving of consent to dissolve Parliament.
▪ Functions:
• The executive has the power to govern.
• It is responsible for carrying out matters of governing and administration.
• The officers at both the federal and state levels has the role of implementing the laws that
have passed by the legislative body.
Prime Minister
• Prime Minister - appointed from among members of the Dewan Rakyat
who is in the opinion of YDPA received the vote of confidence from the
• If he fails to have the support of the members of the Cabinet, the PM has to
• The terms depends on how long it is approved by the YDPA; can also
resign voluntarily for specific reasons.

Resignation of PM
• If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the
members of the Dewan Rakyat, then

• unless at the PM’s request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) dissolves
Parliament (and the YDPA may act in his absolute discretion)
• the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.
Appointment of Cabinet

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) is required to

appoint a Cabinet in the following manner:

• Acting in his discretion, the YDPA first appoints as Prime

Minister a member of the Dewan Rakyat who in the YDPA’s
judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of
PM that Dewan; and

• Acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, the YDPA appoints

other Ministers from among the members of either the Dewan
Other Rakyat or the Dewan Negara.
Members of the Cabinet
• Appointed to full ministerial status – majority come from the Dewan Rakyat.
• Basic function is to advice the YDPA in governance. Members of the cabinet are
collectively responsible to Parliament:
• Decisions made by the cabinet are deemed to have been agreed to by all
• A member or members who disagree with the decision are morally bound to
tender his or her resignation.
• A member or members may disagree during the process of decision-making,
but after decision has been taken, then he or she is bound by the decision
• Another function of members is to propose the government legislations.
Minister Without Portfolio
Secretaries are also
Political Secretaries not
Deputy Minister is to appointed from among
necessarily be appointed
assist a Minister in the members of either
from among members of
discharge of duties of Houses of Parliament.
Parliament. Their basic
their respective ministry; Their basic duties are to
duties are determined
they have power and assist both the deputy
from time to time by the
authority of that office ministers and ministers
within their respective

• Shadow cabinet is an important concept in

parliamentary democracy; refers to a group of
opposition Members of Parliament who assume the
roles and duties of government ministers.
• The role of each shadow minister it to check on the
minister, in order to ensure that the relevant minister
is doing his or her job.
• Shadow Cabinet is headed by a Shadow Prime
Minister, it is normally held by an Opposition Leader
in Parliament.
c) The Legislature
• The Malaysian Parliament is a bi-cameral legislature comprising of the House
of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) and the Senate (Dewan Negara). The
Yang di Pertuan Agong is also a part of Parliament.
Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara

Dewan Rakyat Dewan Negara

Number of Members 222 70

Mode of Appointment Elected during a general • Elected by State Legislatures

election (2 each)
• Appointed by the YDPA in
respect of Federal
Territories (4)
• Appointed by the YDPA (40)
Term of Office Until the dissolution of • 3 years, unaffected by
Parliament dissolution of Parliament.
• A person can only be a
Senator for a maximum of
two terms, whether
consecutive or not.

To make, amend and repeal laws.

To impose or increase any taxes, or to reduce or

remit any existing taxes.

To pass national budget for any physical year.

Procedures for making Federal law
(Articles 66 - 68)

Passed by Dewan Rakyat

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage Stage 3 Negara

Title briefly Important stage. Reference to a The bill is No right to veto,

explained by the Debate takes committee reviewed. reject or insist.
clerk of the place. Vote for member. Amendments are
Dewan support – 2/3 Amendment can not allowed except
agreed, proceed be made with the
to next stage permission of the
Assented to
If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong does
by the
not assent to a Bill within 30 days
Yang di- after it has been presented to him, it
Pertuan shall automatically become law
Agong3 (Article 66(4) and (4A))
d) The Judiciary

• The judiciary can decide if the laws are valid or cannot be enforced
because they exceed their powers of jurisdiction as specified in the
• The primary role of the Judiciary in this matter is to act as an institution
that defends the supremacy of the Legislative bodies to reinforce the
people’s belief in the government.
• Another function of the Judiciary is to defend justice.
The power to interpret laws, including the Constitution,
lies with the judiciary.

Federal Court

Court of Appeal

High Court
High Court
of Sabah and
of Malaya★
Syariah Courts
★ The High Courts and
the Subordinate Courts
Subordinate Subordinate have no jurisdiction over
Courts Courts Syariah Court matters
High Courts

• The High Courts have general supervisory and revisionary jurisdiction over
all the Subordinate Courts and hear appeals from the Subordinate Courts
in civil and criminal matters.
• Dissolution of • bankruptcy and • Guardianship or • grants probates of
marriage (divorce) companies winding custody of children wills and letters of • specific
and matrimonial up matters administration of performance or
causes deceased persons rescissions of

• generally actions of • To hear all criminal

which the claim matters
(except motor
vehicle accident)
Court of Appeal

Hears all civil appeals against decisions of the

High Courts except where against judgment or
orders made by consent.

Claim is less than RM250,000-00 or the judgment

or order relates to costs only or against decisions
of a judge in chambers on an interpleaded
summons on undisputed facts, leave of the Court
of Appeal must first be obtained.

Also hears criminal appeals against decisions of

the High Courts
Federal Court

All civil appeals from the Court of Appeal are heard by

the Federal Court only after leave is granted by the
Federal Court. The Federal Court also hears criminal
appeals from the Court of Appeal only in respect of
matters heard by the High Court in its original
Magistrates' Courts

Claim does not exceed RM25,000-00

power to try all offences of which the maximum term of

imprisonment does not exceed 10 years

Punishable with fine

May pass sentences not exceeding 5 years imprisonment,

fine not exceeding RM10,000-00 and/or whipping up to 12

Also hear appeals from the Penghulu's Courts

Hear all matters of which the
claim exceeds RM25,000-00 but
does not exceed RM250,000-00

Except in matters relating to

motor vehicle accidents,
landlord and tenant and distress

To hear all criminal matters

except for offences punishable
with death
Independence of the Judiciary

• Interpret law, including the Constitution itself

• Declare any law of federal and state void; and
• Declare the action of federal and state government illegal from the law