Written and Unwritten Law

Topics: United States Constitution, Constitution, Separation of powers Pages: 12 (4416 words) Published: January 3, 2013

Written and Unwritten Constitution| 3-4|
Comparison of the Supremacy of Malaysia and United Kingdom| 5-7| Characteristic of both Parliamentary Supremacy and Constitutional Supremacy and the drawback| 7-8| Conclusion | 10|

Bibliography| 11|


As Malaysia is a federation of thirteen states, it has altogether fourteen constitutions the Federal Constitution and thirteen State Constitutions. Johor was the first state to have a written constitution, granted in 1895 by Sultan Abu Bakar.Terengganu was granted a written constitution by Sultan Zainal Abidin III in 1911. Each of the other states in the peninsula, apart from Penang and Melaka, was given one under the terms of the respective State Agreements concluded between the United Kingdom and the Malay Rulers just before the conclusion of the Federation of Malaya Agreement (FMA) in 1948. Penang and Malacca receive theirs under the Federation of Malaya Agreement (FMA) 1957. Sabah and Sarawak were each given a new constitution under the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Each State Constitution is required under Article 71(4) of the Federal Constitution to contain the so called “essential provisions” set out in the Eighth Schedule so that it is harmoniously integrated with the Federal Constitution. If it does not, Parliament may legislate to give effect to the prescribed provisions. Thus is ensured not only compliance of State Constitutions with the Federal Constitution, but also uniformity in the State Constitutions concerning the structure of government. We will look into the Supremacy of Malaysia and the characteristic that upholds the Constitution of Malaysia together.

Written and Unwritten Constitution
The term ‘constitution’, in any country, basically refers to a set of rules which determine, among others, the manner the institutions are to be set up, the powers to be distributed and the justice to be administered. It can be refers as a set of fundamental principles which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, constitute what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single collection or set of legal documents, it is said to comprise a written constitution. It is therefore, a constitution concern different level of organizations, from the sovereign states to companies and unincorporated associations. Within states, regardless is sovereign or federated, it defines the principles upon which the state is based, the procedure in which laws are made and by whom. In fact written constitutions, act as limiters of state power by establishing lines which a state’s rulers cannot cross at such fundamental rights. In simple, a constitution is a set of laws, customs and conventions, the composition and powers of the state institutions. It’s designed to set out the rules and regulations within which government operates by establishing the composition, powers and functions of the institutions of the state, regulate the relations between these institutions, and enshrine the legal rights and duties of the citizenry. As the statement ‘Government without a constitution is power without right’ by Thomas Paine. The vast of majority countries in the world today have written constitutions. The term ‘written’ constitution here refers to constitutions which are codified in a single document whereas the ‘unwritten’ one refers to those in which the rules and principles of the constitution are scattered in the forms of statutes, charters, political conventions and practices. In more complexes, written constitution, the document itself is authoritative in the sense that it constitutes 'higher' laws, indeed the highest law of the land. The Constitution binds all political institutions including those that enact ordinary law. The existence of the codified constitution thus establishes a hierarchy of laws. In unitary states a two-tier legal system exists with the...
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