Legislative Process in the Malaysia Parliament
Question 1 Article 44 of the federal Constitution vests the legislative authority of Malaysia Parliament. Explain the legislative process in the Malaysia Parliament. In Article 44, the legislative authority of the Federation shall be vested in a Parliament, which shall consist of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and two Majlis (Houses of Parliament) to be known as the Dewan Negara (Senate) and the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives). My opinion about the legislation is refers to laws made by a person or body, which has power to make law. In Malaysia, Parliament and Legislative Assemblies have powers to enact laws in their respective areas.
Laws made by Parliament may extend to the whole country. However, laws enacted by a State Assembly only apply to that particular state only. There are several legislative processes in the Malaysian Parliament. The Bill introduced to parliament may be classified as Private Bill’s, Private Member Bills, Hybrid Bills and Government Bills. The Bill is normally presented by the Minister to the Parliament A Bill introduced in either House in accordance with Parliamentary procedure as prescribed by the Standing Orders usually goes through 4 stages, i. e. : 1. The First Reading 2. The Second Reading 3.
The Committee Stage
If the motion is accepted, the House will resume sitting and this brings the Committee Stage to an end. When the house resume sitting, the minister reports that the Bill has been considered and accepted by the Committee with or without amendment. When a Bill has been passed in the manner describe above in either House, it is then transmitted or send to the other House for Consideration. When the Bill has been considered by the other House in a similar fashion, it is return to the House from which it originated. The motion is the final step and article 68 of the Federal Constitution will become operative.
According to article 68, the Bill may be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his assent after the lapse of one month if it is a Money Bill and twelve months if it is not a Money Bill. However, this primacy of the House of Representatives over the Senate does not exist in the event of a Bill amending the Constitution. Constitutional amendment requires the concurrence of both chambers. The function of the Senate is general legislation is of a revising nature with no real authority to reject measures passed by the House of Representative.
Although a Minister normally introduces a Bill, there is nothing to prevent any member either of the government or the opposition from introducing a Bill, but such a move is unlikely to succeed unless it commands the support of the government. Bill may originate from either House with the exception of a Bill or and amendment concerning any of the matters enumerated in article 67, such a taxation and expenditure, which must be moved by a minister in the House of Representative. The legislative procedure in the State Assemblies is almost similar to that in the Federal Parliament with some local variations.
Bill are passed by the one-chamber by Legislative Assembly and assented to by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri before becoming law, and no law can come into force until it is published. Bills requiring expenditure from the Consolidated Funds have to be introduced by a member of the Executive Council. State Constitution, with certain exceptions may also be amended on the same format as an amendment of the Federal Constitution, that is, supported on the second and third reading by at least two-third of the total number of members.
The constitutional provisions affecting succession to the throne in the Malay State may not be the subjects of amendment by the State Legislature. A Bill is adopted by a simple majority vote of those members present and voting. There are several exception to this rules, the most significant being constitutional amendment in accordance with article 159 of Federal Constitution. Bill shall not been passed in either House of Parliament unless it has been supported on the second and third readings by the votes of not less than two-third of the total number of members of that House.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an integral part of Parliament. His assent is normally before a Bill becomes law. Royal Assent is not effect within a time specified, the Bill becomes law as if it had been assented. Prior to the amendment, there was no evidence to suggest that the Royal veto over a proposed federal law has ever been official existed. Malaysia practices a combination of two systems i. e monarchy system and parliamentary democracy system. Under this system, the head of the country is the king (Yang Dipertuan Agong) and Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri (Negeri Sembilan) is the head of the states.
The YDPA, Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri (Negeri Sembilan) is assisted by officials i. e Cabinet of Ministers at executive level and State Executive Council (SEC). Those officials are elected by the people through a democratic way that is through a general election. Those who win the election will form the government of Malaysia with the consent of the king. The head of government is the Prime Minister. There are three main bodies that govern the country – the executive, legislative and judiciary. The structure of government and administration is divided into two levels i. the federal and state level. Those three main bodies exist in both level of administration.
All the powers of the King, the three main bodies, the federal and state government are given by the Federal Constitution as the highest laws of the country. It means, everyone in this country is subject to the Federal Constitution including the King. That is why the king in Malaysia is a constitutional king. Their actions must be within the jurisdiction given by the Constitution. As mentioned earlier, there are three main bodies in structure of the government. The bodies are: 1. Legislative Body . Executive Body 3. Judiciary Body This division is based on the theory of ‘separations of powers’ in which the powers of each body do not overlap and each has its own roles. Besides that, the theory does not allow any interference of a body over another. The reason is to ensure the neutrality or objectivity of each body. In other words, each body is not allowed to influence the decision and action of other bodies. For example, a minister who represents the Executive body cannot give a direction to a judge of Judiciary to make decision on a court case according to the Minister’s wish.
The theory also aims at preventing any body from possessing absolute power that may lead to power abuse. The function of the Legislative body is to enact laws, amend and pass laws. It exists at the federal and state level. At the federal level, the legislative body is the Parliament while at the state level, it is the State Legislative Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri-DUN). Federal Level The Parliament comprise of the following components: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) His Highness isHead of the Parliament. His Highness does not involve directly in the process of regulating law.
Normally, His Highness just officiate the opening of parliamentary seating. YDPA will approve bill that has been passed by the Senate & the House of Representative The Senate (Dewan Negara) Its members are called Senators who are appointed by the government. The term of office is 3 years and cannot exceed two terms (whether continuously or alternately). Senators can only be re-elected once, consecutively or non-consecutively. A Senator is appointed among the circle of prominent citizens who have served the society or country in various fields or professions.
The roles of Dewan Negara are to discuss and pass the bills that are passed by the Dewan Rakyat before being forwarded to Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It is headed by Yang Dipertua who presides over meetings. He is assisted by Deputy Yang Dipertua and Dewan Secretary. Procedures of appointing a Senators: I. Two persons for each state appointed by the state government through the State Legislative Assembly II. Two persons for Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and one for Labuan appointed by the YDPA on the advice of the Prime Minister. III.
Forty persons from various states appointed by Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister. Dewan Negara have power to delay the passing of the bills for a period of one month to one year, but they have no power to reject it. The House of Representative (Dewan Rakyat) The Function is to enact law and to discuss matters related with the interest of the people and the country. Its members are citizens who contest in the general election and win a parliamentary seat in a general election. They are politicians who called as ‘People Representative’ (Wakil Rakyat).
State Level At the state level, it is the State Legislative Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri-DUN) will enact, amend and pass laws for the state. It has one house only. The State Legislative Assembly (SLA) consists of: a) Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri * Heads of their states * Normally, His Highness just officiate the parliamentary seating * They will approve bill passed by the SLA b) State Legislative Council * Its members are elected by the people in a general election * Number of members varies according to the state Three other members appointed by the state governments but not involve in the enactments of state laws. They are: I. State Secretary II. State Legal Advisor III. State Finance Officer Process of the enactment of law is similar to the process in the Parliament in which a bill will undergo three readings in the SLA The Executive body is responsible for carrying out the executive tasks in administrating and governing the government at the federal and state level. The executive at the federal level is known as Cabinet of Ministers and at the state level as the State Legislative Council (SLC).
This body is empowered to implement laws that have been passed by the legislative body. Under the Federal level, the power of the executive lies in the hands of the YDPA as he is the supreme head of the country and he can exercise the executive power himself. However, in the real practice, the executive power is exercised by Cabinet or by any minister empowered by the Cabinet. The YDPA has to act on the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister. It means, the YDPA has no absolute power to exercise his executive duties. However, His Highness has the right to access to whatever information regarding the government.
In short, the relationship between the YDPA and the Cabinet is like a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company. The YDPA is the Chairman and the Prime Minister is the CEO of the country. The Chairman normally does not involve directly in the administration of company, the same with the YDPA who does not involve directly in the governance and administration of the country. The Cabinet which is headed by the Prime Minister is responsible to determine government’s policies and to issue directives for the implementation of the policies by the government administrative machinery.
The members of Cabinet are appointed by the YDPA. The structure for State level is similar to the federal level. The power of the executive lies in the hands of the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri as they are the supreme heads of their states and he can exercise the executive power himself. However, in the real practice, the executive power is exercised by the State Executive Council (SEC) or by any EXCO (Executive Officer) empowered by the SEC. Same with the YDPA, the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri have to act on the advice of the SEC.
It means, they have no absolute power to exercise their executive duties. However, they have the right to access to whatever information regarding the government. In short, the relationship between the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri and the SEC like a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company. The the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri are the Chairmans and the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) is the CEO of the states.
The Chairman normally does not involve directly in the administration of the company, the same with the the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri who does not involve directly in the governance and administration of the states. The SEC is headed by a Chief Minister (Menteri Besar). It is responsible to determine the state government’s policies and to issue directives for the implementation of the policies by the government administrative machinery. The members of SEC are appointed by the Sultan or Yang Dipertua Negeri or Yamtuan Besar Negeri. Judiciary is a body that is responsible for the process of justice in this country.
It carries out its duties in the court of law. It frees from any government influences. It has wider powers compared to the Legislative and the Executive in which it is empowered to interpret the Federal Constitution or any other law and rule it as invalid. Below are the roles and functions of the Judiciary: a) To defend the supremacy of the Federal Constitution b) To defend justice in the country c) To ensure the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislative body d) To keep watching the executive body, so that any laws drawn by the executive do not go against the Federal Constitution
Judges are appointed by the YDPA based on the advice of the Prime Minister. Normally, the YDPA will consult the Council of Rulers before giving his consents for the appointment of judges. The judges are paid from a special fund and not from the government’s money. There is an independent Judiciary Service Commission that responsible on matter relating to judicial services, like the appointment of legal officers, promotion and allowances. The judges can be dismissed from service for two reasons only that is i. e. i) improper behaviors and ii) Inability to carry out duties as a judge.