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The Supremacy of the

Constitution
•The Malaysian Constitution began
with the Federation of Malaya
Constitution drawn up for
independent Malaya

• When the Malayan Union was dissolved, a
new constitution known as the Federation
of Malaya Constitution was drawn up and
came into effect on 1 February 1948
• The Malaysian Constitution which came
into effect on 16 September 1963 is based
on the Federation of Malaya Constitution
with some amendments made to
incorporate the joining of Sabah and
Sarawak into Malaysia (Cobbold

Commission) • The Constitution has special status and is the only institution or source of legislation that is permanently supreme • The Parliament of Malaysia does possess unlimited power like in Britain because it is given power by a written constitution • Its situation is consistent and firm .

the State Legislative Assembly is empowered to make laws (enactments) .• The Malaysian Constitution allocates power to the federal and state levels • The authority and responsibility at each level is clear • At the Federal level. Parliament is a legislative body with powers to make laws (acts) while at the state level.

• The Constitution also states very clearly that there are areas of common legislation. and this is embodied in Schedule 9 of the Joint List • Both legislative bodies are empowered to make laws and these laws are legal as recorded in the provisions embodied in the Constitution itself • Whatever laws made outside their jurisdiction are illegal or outside the power specified in .

the Constitution. the court has the power to annul Parliament or DUN’s action that is outside the limits of their power • This is what we mean by the constitution being the country’s supreme source of legislation • The court acts as a body that controls and safeguards the supremacy of the Constitution .

the State Legislative Council or the court • Thus the other bodies are only supreme in certain matters as provided in the Constitution . Parliament also has the power to amend laws that have been made. following the powers determined by the Constitution. while the Constitution is generally supreme in terms of giving power (legislation) to Parliament.• However.

His Majesty is a component of Parliament and the country’s supreme head .• The position of the YDP Agong is supreme as clearly stated in the Constitution. The YDP Agong symbolizes the nation 3. but not overriding the Constitution: 1. His Majesty is the chief head of state and the object of every citizen’s allegiance and obedience 2.

4. His Majesty is the supreme commander of the armed forces 5. All officially government actions and execution of the country’s regulations are carried out in the name of the YDP Agong . His Majesty appoints the Chief Justice and the judges of the courts to carry out justice on his behalf and to decide on any conflict in the laws 6.

the Constitution determines that His Majesty is a constitutional monarch • The limit to the powers of the YDP Agong is clearly spelt out in the coronation oath which is determined by the Constitution • His Majesty’s actions are taken upon the .• Although the YDP Agong has a special position and actually represents all official institutions and actions of the government.

advice of the Prime Minister. who is also guided by the principles of the Constitution • This method is called the doctrine of power separation The Content of the Constitution • To meet the demands of a multi-racial society. the Constitution has the right elements for fostering unity • Such matters form the thrust of the Malaysian .

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy 3.Constitution whose main features are as follows: 1. Religious freedom with Islam as the official religion of Malaysia . Malaysia is a country that practises parliamentary democracy 4. Malaysia is a federation 2.

Doctrine of the separation of power in which the judiciary. Supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law 6.5. Validity and transparency of the Judiciary with exclusive powers subject to the provisions of . the legislative and the government has each its freedom to carry out its different functions with no conflict of interest 7.

National language.the Constitution 8. citizenship and the special rights of the Malays and the native tribes of Sabah and Sarawak • The Malaysian Constitution contains 15 sections. 183 Clauses or Articles and 15 Schedules .

but is also complete with special features that make it . government and judiciary aspects and has special provisions for application in a country with a diversity of races and religions • It is complete and comprehensive as reflected in its thickness and meticulous details • It is not just fully equipped to meet the needs of an independent country.Uniqueness of the Malaysian Constitution • The Malaysian Constitution covers all the legislative.

unique • The most unique is the practice of constitutional monarchy under the Federal Section • The concept of chief head of state with the status of a ‘king’ (YDP Agong) is unusual and is chosen by the Malay Rulers by rotation for a period of 5 years .

• The YDP Agong besides fulfilling three functions is also an important member of the Council of Rulers • Another unique feature is it comprises the chapters that apply specifically to Sabah and Sarawak • These special features are to adapt to conditions of physical structure and population composition resulting from .

1. 3. Sabah and Sarawak . 4. 2. historical development as set out below: The royal system that existed since many centuries The position of the states that normally have their own autonomy and strength The formation of a plural society that started with the bringing in of Indians and Chinese by the British The entry of Singapore.

Section VI of the Constitution to cater for .which diversifies further the composition of the local population and interests • It is this background among other things that constituted the basis of the Reid Commission for the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya and the Cobbold Commission for a new constitution for Malaysia • Adjustments such as those in Chapter 8.

certain matters including the question of relation between the Federation and Sabah and Sarawak • For it to become fair and practical source of legislation everybody must be ready to accept it • Many people of all races and positions gave their views and suggestions before the constitution was drafted .

its ‘alive’ and functions at all time • Like in other countries.Constitutional Amendments • The Malaysian Constitution is not set and rigid. the Constitution can be amended through the process of Parliament (Article 159 and 161E) • Some views are criticisms against constitutional amendments saying that since it was drafted after carefully thought out and any amendments made will affect public .

what more at this age of globalization • With today’s many changes. no country is in fact static without change. a country’s system of government needs constant adjustment • The Malaysian Constitution has .confidence and respect for the constitution and subsequently for the executive • However.

To maintain efficient management of the country’s administration such as standardizing the regulations of land matters in the states of the .amendments so that adjustment can be made legally following the relevant provisions • Generally the reasons and rational for making constitutional amendments are: 1.

To control the country’s peace as happened several times to the regulations relating to the Internal Security Act 3.2. So that the people’s interests can be protected if it is found that the present laws are not satisfactory .