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The Constitution of Malaysia

A Contextual Analysis

By: Andrew Harding
Media of The Constitution of Malaysia
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Published: 27-07-2012
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 290
ISBN: 9781847319838
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Constitutional Systems of the World
RRP: £26.09
Online price : £15.65
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About The Constitution of Malaysia

Malaysia's constitution was set at the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957 along the lines of the Westminster model, embracing federalism and constitutional monarchy. That it has endured is explained in terms of the social contract agreed between the leaders of the three main ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, Indian) before independence. However, increasing ethnic tension erupted in violence in 1969, after which the social contract was remade in ways that contradicted the basic assumptions underlying the 1957 Constitution. The outcome was an authoritarian state that implemented affirmative action in an attempt to orchestrate rapid economic development and more equitable distribution. In recent years constitutionalism, as enshrined in the 1957 Constitution but severely challenged during the high-authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's developmental state, has become increasingly relevant once again. However, conflict over religion has replaced ethnicity as a source of discord. This book examines the Malaysian approach to constitutional governance in light of authoritarianism and continuing inter-communal strife, and explains the ways in which a supposedly doomed colonial text has come to be known as 'our constitution'.

Table Of Contents

1. Historical Background
I. Symbolic Malacca
II. The Constitution of Malacca and the Malay Concept of Monarchy
III. The Colonial Constitutional Experience: the Residential System
IV. Federalisation
V. The Malayan Union
VI. The Federation of Malaya
VII. The Reid Commission
VIII. The Commission's Report and the Constitutional Debates
IX. The Creation of Malaysia
X. The May 13 Incident
XI. Conclusion
Further Reading
2. Executive Power and the Developmental State
I. Introduction
II. Constitutional Structure of the Executive Power
III. Privatisation
IV. The Social Contract: Drafted and Amended
V. The Social Contract: Specific Performance
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
3 Parliamentary Democracy in a Plural Society
I. Introduction
II. Elections and the Composition of the Dewan Rakyat
III. Political Parties and the Political Process
IV. Parliamentary Process
V. Parliamentary Accountability
VI. Parliamentary Committees
VII. The Dewan Negara
VIII. Conclusion
Further Reading
4 Territorial Governance: Monarchy and the State Constitutions
I. Introduction
II. The Powers and Position of the Rulers
III. State Government Formation and the Limits of Royal Powers
IV. The Conference of Rulers
V. Conclusion
Further Reading
5 Territorial Governance: Federal, State and Local Government
I. Introduction
II. Federal and State Powers: A Measure of Autonomy
III. Federal and State Finance
IV. Special Position of Sabah and Sarawak
V. A Case Study: State Governance in Selangor Post-2008
VI. Local Government
VII. Conclusion
Further Reading
6 Human Rights in an Authoritarian State
I. Introduction
II. Emergency Powers and National Security Laws
III. Individual Liberty and Preventive Detention
IV. Suhakam: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
V. Human Rights: the Indigenous Perspective
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
7 The Judiciary and the Defence of Judicial Power
I. Introduction
II. Judicial Independence and the Constitution
III. The Judicial Power
IV. Constitutional Interpretation
V. The Judicial Crisis of 1988
VI. Judicial Independence: a Downward Slide
VII. A Scandal Leads to Better Outcomes: the Lawyers' Walk for Justice
VIII. Conclusion
Further Reading
8 Religion and the Constitution
I. Introduction
II. Law and Religion: History and Context
III. Islamicisation and the Islamic State
IV. Islam as the Official Religion
V. Religious Freedom
VI. Conversion and the Courts
VII. Conclusion
Further Reading


“…an extremely important foundational text on Malaysian constitutional law. The book is a significant contribution to the field, brings order to the multitude of information and knowledge, and depth to familiar accounts…It should be compulsory reading for any student and scholar of Malaysian constitutional law and politics, as well as a necessary primer to anyone interested in Malaysian public law, society, and politics.” –  Jaclyn L. Neo, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies

“This book should find its place in every person's library...[it is] a resource for engagement and vital critical discourse.” –  Philip T. N. Koh, Star2

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