Law And Parliamentary System Of Malaysia

Law created to maintain a well regulated society and a reflection of society mores and thinking. Law protect basic individual right and freedom such as liberty, equality and freedom of speech. It prevent individual in powerful position from taking unfair advantage of other people. Law applied to every people, public authorities, governmental department, private bodies, profit making organization as well as non-governmental organization. Laws will change over time and must change keep with changes. In Malaysia laws are usually made or amended based on local issues or problem. Nowadays, changes to existing laws or pressure to make new law can be dictated by foreigners or because of what happen somewhere.

When we talk about law, we usually imply the whole of the law but it may have been formed, most of the Malaysia law was created out of the English customs, but a good part of the law has been created by statute such as Act of Parliament. Law can be classified into several areas. It can be categorized into three main area which are Public Law and Private Law, Substantive Law and Procedural Law, Private international and Public International Law. Public law is the part of the law which dealing with the state or relationship with individual. Public law divide is into constitutional law, criminal law and administrative law. Constitutional law indicate that the structure of principal organs of government and their relationship to each other and decide principal function and the right of individual under the government i.e Article 6 (1). Criminal law are made in order to create an ordered society. The punishment for crime ranges from death or imprisonment to a money penalty or acquitted. Administrative law is define as the body of legal principal which concern the right and duties from the impact upon the individual of the actual functioning of the executive instrument of the government.

Private law is also known as Civil law which the link between one citizen and another citizen. In the private law it consist of contract, Family law, Tort, Land law and commercial law in general. Substantive law is regulated and created the obligations and rights of a particular party allow for individuals to bring forth claim. Procedural law are the laws that dictate the precise step that a party must take in order to have a particular right which created by a substantive law enforced by the courts. Public International law deals with the relationship between stages and the Private International law concerned with the application of several national laws of the facts of a particular case involving two or more countries.

Parliamentary System of Malaysia

Malaysia was a former British colony and prior to its independence a commission was appointed to draft the Federal Constitution based on the system of parliamentary democracy practiced in Great Britain. Malaysia Federal Constitution divide the structure of government in 3 branches, there are Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. The executive is led by Prime Minister who appointed by the Yang di-pertuan Agong (YDPA) and it functions include action taken for the maintenance of order, in the implementation of law, for the defense of state, in the conduct of external affair, and in the administration of internal policies. The judiciary comprise the Federal Court, Court of Appeal, two High Court of co-ordinate jurisdiction function as the determination of issues of fact and the interpretation of law and dealing with crimes or civil causes by application of the law to them. The legislature is the body which has the power to pass, amend, and repeal the laws which under the doctrine of separation of powers. Law enacted by Parliament are known as Acts, but those enacted by federal legislature between 1 April 1946 and 10 September 1959 are known as Ordinances. There are four types of Acts, there are Principle Act which is the most common, Amendment Act which make changes to a principal Act, Revised Act which result changes made by the Commissioner of Law Revision, and lastly is Consolidated Act which bring the specific subject that had been passed over a period of time.

Federal constitution vests the legislative authority of Malaysia in Parliament, include Yang di-Pertuan Agong and other two legislative assembly, there are an upper house called house of Senate (Dewan Negara) and a lower house called house of Representative (Dewan Rakyat). The house of Senate consists of 70 members, 26 members elected by State Legislative Assembly to represent 13 states and 44 members appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister. The House of Representative (Dewan Rakyat) has primacy over the House of Senate (Dewan Negara) in composition and function. The House of Representative consists of 219 members elected by adult suffrage from single constituencies delineated on the basis of population and size of territory.

The members of House of Representative and Senate are given special authority known as "Parliamentary Privileges" which avoid them debate in a court of law on any offences which have taken place in Parliament. These Privileges are very important on Parliament since it allow members of parliament to discuss freely and debate over any inappropriate, scandals and any issues which affect the nation. In addition, if any member breaches these privileges or stand in contempt of any House, penalization will be strictly imposed on that person.

The House of Representative functions as the body formulate laws for the country. A Bill usually made in the house of Representative where it is debated and passed, then send to the House of Senate. The House of Representative also act as forum for its member to debate and issue government policies. The functions of Senate is review all the Bill forwarded to it after passed by the House of Representative, and Senate has the authority to delay the enforcement of any Bill sent to them for a period not more than one year. However, Senate has no authority to revoke or withdraw any Bill. Senate also act as a forum in which public officers and politicians are given opportunity to discuss issues of public interest.

Procedure for Law Making

A Bill actually just a draft of legislative proposal, it has to go through several stages and need passed by the legislature, in most cases, need approved by the executive before it become an Act of Parliament. A Bill is introduced into Parliament. When it has passed, after debate and vote by House of Representative, it is referred to the House of Senate where it goes through the same process. In each House, the Bill need goes thorough four stages, there are First Reading, Second Reading, Committee Stage, and Third Reading.

The first stage known as First Reading which is just a formality in which a minister in the House of Representative read out the title of Bill. After the First Reading followed by the Second Reading which is one the most important stage in the process which may take place in the same day. If the Bill is supported and get vote majority by the member of House of Representative, then the Bill will discuss and debate in more details. After Second Reading, then go to Committee Stage, member may reject or amend the Bill. If the House feels the Bill is suited, members are take a vote by balloting and then the Bill will move on to the Third Reading. In the Third Reading, the Bill will further debated and only error in spelling and syntax may be amended. After that the Bill will proceed to the Senate or will be sent to House of Representative if the Bill origin form House of Senate. In House of Senate, the Bill will go through same procedure as in House of Representative. If the Bill approved and passed both House, then the Bill will present to the Yang di-pertuan Agong who will seal it within 30 days of presentation. Then the Bill become an Act. Only the Act will become Law after announce to the public.

Figure 1Malaysia_Process_for_Making_Federal_Laws.png

Bill Introduction

There are three types of Bills introduce in parliament, which are Public Bill, Private Bill and Hybrid Bill. Under the Private Bills, there are Government Bills and Private Members Bills where the Government Bill is normally introduced by Minister and Private Member Bill is initiated by a Member of Parliament. The Private Bill is a proposal for a law that would apply to a particular individual or a group of individual, or corporate entity. For hybrid bill which concerning matters of public interest which also affect adversely the interest of some private bodies or persons.

Before a Bill go into Parliament, it need go across the Pre-Parliamentary Stage which under the procedure for the enactment of an Act of parliament. The initial step is to prepare a draft of the proposed legislation. Wherever the proposal comes from, it has been accepted in principle by the Cabinet. Before it become a bill, actually it is an idea where can come from anybody and the process begins either an individual or group persuades a member of the Legislature to author of bill. After the member worked out the outline of his or her ideas, the proposal is sent to the Parliamentary Draftsperson in the Attorney - General's Chambers to put it into legal language and correct form. After the proposal is complete converted, the proposal is now known as a bill. Then it will return back to the legislator for his or her review. The person or group that who come out the ideas for the bill may also review it to make sure that the provision they desire are in the bill in the correct form.

After get approval by the Cabinet, the Bill is ready to be introduced into Parliament. This may be done either in the House of Representative (Dewan Rakyat) or House of Senate (Dewan Negara). Any member of Congress can introduce the legislation. The person or persons who introduce the Bill are known as sponsor. Any member if the same body can add his or her name after the day of introduction as a cosponsor.

Summary of Pre-Parliamentary Stage

Proposal / outline

Meeting between relevant authorities

Drafting of Bill by Parliamentary Draftsperson

Cabinet approval of Bill