The Federal Constitution of Malaysia

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The Malaysian Government follows the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya which was promulgated on Merdeka day, August 31, 1957 (revised in 1963) in setting up its administrative and policy making decisions.

Malaysia practices parliamentary democracy and is ruled as a constitutional Monarchy with Yang di Pertuan Agong as the head of the country. Under the constitution, Malaysia as a federation is ruled as a Constitutional Monarchy with the appointment of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King or Supreme Sovereign) as the head of the country.

The federal Constitution of Malaysia divides the authority of the federation into its Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary authority.

The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong

The election of Yang Di-Pertuan Agong

The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is appointed once in every five years from a pool of nine Sultans who head the nine states in Malaysia. The appointment is systematic and each of the nine Sultans has the opportunity to ascend the throne of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong based on his turn in the cycle. In the event of any of the circumstances below, a sultan will not automatically be elected as the Yang Dipertuan Agong even thought it may be his turn in the cycle: • If he is a minor

• If he has expressed his desire not to ascend the throne • If he is ailing in mind and body and has been found to be unfit in any way to lead the country as the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong

When the office is not occupied, the Conference of Rulers meets to elect a Sultan to fill the vacancy. The first ruler who obtains not less than 5 votes from the members in the Conference is then elected and shall hold office for a term of five years.

The Role and Privileges of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong

As mentioned earlier, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the supreme head of state in Malaysia and he acts on the advice of the Parliament and the Prime Minister, who heads the Cabinet. However; the appointment of the prime minister; the requisition of a meeting for the conference of rulers concerning the privileges and status of sultan and also the dissolution of Parliament (even against the advice of the Prime Minister) are all on his own discretion.

In matters pertaining to Parliament, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is given the right to appoint senators on the advice of the Prime Minister. All acts that have been passed by the two main houses of Parliament have to be scrutinized by him before being made into laws. As the head of the Judicial Authority, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has the legal right to appoint the Chief Justice, Federal and High Court judges based on the guidelines stipulated in the Federal Constitution and acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. He is also given the privilege of pardoning wrongdoers and civil offences committed in the Federal Territories of Malaysia, and override sentences passed out by the Military Court. He is the highest commander of armed forces in the country.

In states that do not have a Sultan as their head, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the head of religion and thus, has the power to pardon offences and override sentences passed out by the Syariah Courts in these states. The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong also has the highest honour and is given the privilege of conferring awards, orders of chivalry and other honours.

The Conference of Rulers

The Conferences of Rulers was established in 1948 by the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya. It consists of nine sultans and four governors or the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri. Its main function is to appoint the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and his Deputy. However, this task is left exclusively to the nine sultans.

The Conference of Rulers has to be consulted on matters pertaining to the alteration of state boundaries, extension of the Federation, religious matters pertaining to Islam and any Bill in the Constitution which has to be amended.

Matters that affect...
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