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THE CONSTITUTION OF MALAYSIA

The Constitution is a document that contains the highest laws of the country. No other law can contravene the constitution.

The Federal Constitution (Malaysia) we have today is based on the Constitution of the Federal of Malaya presented by the Reid Commission in 1957. The 1957 document was amended to suit the requirements of the enlarge federation and put into effects as the Constitution when Malaysia was proclaimed on 16 September 1963.

SOURCE OF LAW IN MALAYSIA

WRITEN: - Federal Constitution - Act ( laws enacted) - Enactment/ Ordinance - Written Islamic Law - Minor Legislations

UNWRITTEN: - Customary Law - Court decisions - Common Law - Unwritten Islamic Law

FEDERAL CONSTITUTION & STATE CONSTITUTIONS
Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya. The country has a central federal government and 13 states governments. The Federal Constitution provides for a separation of powers between the federal government and the respective state governments. This power separation is aimed at ensuring the smooth operation of the federal system and the avoidance of disputes that may arise between the central government and a state government. The extent of the Federal Government’s power is mentioned in the Federal List.

Federal List - Foreign Affairs - Defense - Internal Security - Legal and civil agendas and crime and administration of Justice - Federal Citizenship - Government machinery - Finance - Trade, Commerce and industry - Shipping, sailing and fishery - Communication and transport - Federal works - Study, investigation, research - Education - Medicine and Health - Labour and social safety - Welfare of aboriginal people - Professional occupations - Holidays other than state holidays, standard time - Non-corporate organizations - Control of pests in agriculture - Newspaper, publication, publisher, printing and printing machinery - Censorship - Cooperative companies - Tourism

Each state in Malaysia has its own right, power and responsibilities under the constitution. All these rights are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. Nevertheless, the State Constitution cannot contradict the Federal Constitution . According to Article 71 (A) of the Federal Constitution, all state Constitutions must have specific provisions in matters such as those concerning the Ruler, the Yang Dipertua Negeri, the State Executive Council, the State Legislative Assembly, Financial provisions, equal treatment for workers in the state, and amendments to the State Constitution. The extent of the state government’s power is mentioned in the State List.

State List - Islamic Law - Land - Agricultural land and forestry - Local Government - Local Service - State public work and water - State government machinery - State public holidays - State laws - Turtles and catching of fish in rivers - Libraries, museum, monuments, ancient records and history, as well as ancient sites and ruins.

The Federal Government and the respective State Governments are required to cooperate in areas that border on their common interest. These matters are mentioned in the Common List.

Common List - Social welfare - Scholarship - Protection of wild animals and wild birds, National Parks - Town and village planning - Public health - Safety measures - Culture and sports - Housing and allocation of housing facilities, development trust - Shipping - Production, allocation and supply of water and electricity generated - Charities and trusts - Cinemas, cinema shows, film shows, public places of entertainment - Election for State Legislative assembly

MAIN PROVISIONS IN THE CONSTITUTION OF MALAYSIA

2.1 Freedom to assemble a. Every individual has the right to assemble peacefully without arms anywhere in the Federation. b. Assembly can be held with police permits subject to certain conditions (security, public order, health and public menace)

2.2 Freedom of religion a. Every person has the right to practice a religion in the Federation b. Any form of religious functions comes under the state law where the Sultan is the head of religion. c. For the Federal Territory of Labuan Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya religion comes under the purview of the Parliament.

2.3 Rights to own property - Malaysians have the right to own property. Should there be any need on the part of the government to take over the property (land for example) proper compensation is made to the owner.

2.4 Restrictions in the interest of the security - The human rights given to the individual according to the constitution are subject to laws relating to public security restrictions + explanation.

2.5 Restrictions in the interest of public health - Human rights given to the individual according to the constitution are subject to public health restrictions laws.

NATIONAL LANGUAGE Article 152 of the Federal Constitution stipulates that the national language is Bahasa Malaysia. However, no one can be prohibited or restrained from using or teaching or learning other languages. Bahasa Malaysia shall be used for all official purposes. Official purposes would mean all dealings with or by the government, whether federal or state, including the public authorities. Public authorities would include the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Rulers of state governors, the federal and state governments, local authorities, statutory authorities performing duties placed on them according to the law by the federal government, state governments or the courts.

The YDPA may allow the use of English for whatever official purposes he deems necessary. Among them are:

1. Communication with foreign governments or international organizations. 2. Training conducted by overseas experts for the Inland Revenue Department., work relating interpretation , computer, accounting, collection, investigation, training or examination if the is in English, dealings with experts or consultants in the service of whatever government or statutory organization in Malaysia, guide or instruction on policies to Malaysian representatives overseas if the use of English cannot be avoided.

The 1971 Constitution (Amendment) Act states that the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language cannot be questioned. Anyone who questions it can be accused of committing an offence under the Incitement Act. (1948)

RELIGION Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the Federation. However, other religions may be practiced peacefully in any part the Federation. Article II furthermore stipulates that each individual has a right to profess, practice and propagate his or her religion. However, for Muslims, the government can enact laws to control or curtail whatever beliefs deemed to be deviational.

The power of the State Legislative Assembly to enact articles concerning Islamic Law includes the authority to establish a court with powers over the muslims.

SPECIAL POSITION OF THE MALAYS AND INDEGENOUS PEOPLE OF SABAH AND SARAWAK The formation of the Constitution of our country is the result of compromise among the various communities. Since the Malay leaders agreed to relax the conditions for citizenship, the leaders of the Chinese and Indian communities accepted the special position of the Malays as indigenous people of Malaya. With the establishment of Malaysia, the special position status was extended to include the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak.

Article 153 assigns the YDPA with the responsibility to guarantee the special position of the Malays and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak. This task is carried out according to the advice of the Cabinet . Among the privileges extended to the Malays are scholarships, the Amanah Saham Bumiputera scheme, posts in the civil service and award of permits of licenses in trade.

Malays - Professes the Islamic religion - Habitually speaks the Malay language - Practices Malay customs

The Indigenous People in Sabah and Sarawak

Sabah - Murut - Bajau - Kadazan - Dusun

Sarawak - Melanau - Kadayan - Bidayuh - Iban - kalabit
CITIZENSHIP
Section 3 of the Federal Constitution explains persons eligibility to become citizen of Malaysia. There are four ways by which a person can be a Malaysian citizen:

1. Operation of Law 2. Registration 3. Application 4. Merger of Territory

Operation of Law
Citizenship by operation of law is granted to two categories of people : 1. Those born before Malaysia Day (16 September 1963).

- Before merdeka day such a person had already become a citizen of the federation. At the time of his birth either of his parents is a citizen or lives permanently in the Federation.

- Those born after Malaysia Day

- Such a person is one whose mother or father at the time of his birth is a citizen or permanent resident of the federation. A person who is born outside the Federation on or after Merdeka and whose father at the time of his birth is a citizen and his birth is registered in a consulate of the Federation.

2. Registration

- Only the following can be a citizen by registration:

- Wife and child of a citizen

- A person below 21 years old whose parents are not necessarily citizens.

- A person born in the Federation before Merdeka day.

- A person who was living in Sabah or Sarawak on Malaysia day

3. By Application

- A person who is 21 years old and above can apply for citizenship if he or she fulfils the following conditions:

i) Has resided in the Federation for 10 out of 12 years immediately preceding application for citizenship.

ii) Is of good character.

iii) Possesses an adequate knowledge of the Malay language.

4. By Merger of Territory

Article 22 of the Federal Constitution provides that if a new territory is accepted into the Federation, Parliament through its laws can decide that the people of the new territory be given citizenship status.

TERMINATION OF CITIZENSHIP

Termination of citizenship can occur through:

1. Renunciation

- A citizen who is 21 years and above can avow to the government that he wishes to give up his citizenship of Malaysia in order to become a citizen of another country.

2. Revocation

a) The government can revoke the citizenship status of person if that citizen exercises the rights of a citizen of a foreign country (possessing more than one citizenship) like the right to vote, etc.

b) The government can also remove the citizenship status of a person if it considers that person disloyal to the country. In war, for example, if that person consorts with the enemy.

c) Citizenship status can be removed if a citizen has made false statements at the time of his application. It can also be removed if within a period of five years from the date he became a citizen he is imprisoned for more than one year or fined more than RM5000.

DEMOCRACY

Election
An important aspect of the democracy system is election. Through election, the people choose their government. They elect people’s representatives to serve at the national and state levels.

The Process of Election in Malaysia - Parliament dissolve - EC- Nomination day and polling day - Deposit - Symbol / Manifesto - Campaign - Polling day - Result - Establish the new government

The person who eligible to vote by post.
- Who are studies abroad
-Malaysian living oversea
-Journalists working during the general election/Government Staff those who are working during the election

SOCIETY AND UNITY
Our country has a multi-racial society. According to 2005 figures, we have total population of 27 000 000 people.

Malays
The Malays form the largest grouping in the country and are categorized as ‘Bumiputera’ along with other indigenous people.

There is a theory that says that the Malays are descended from the Deutro - Malays who migrates from Yunan in South China at around 1500 BC.
Religion – Islam- Al-Quran / Al-Hadis

Culture 1. Traditional Attire – Baju Melayu Cekak Musang & Teluk Belanga – Men - Baju Kurung, Kebaya, Kebarung, Songket, Kurung Kedah- Women 2. Traditional Food – Nasi Lemak, Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Dagang, Nasi Minyak , Nasi Ambang, Laksa Penang, Laksa Johor, Laksam Terengganu 3. Main Festival- Hari Raya Eidul Adha, Eidul Fitri, Maal Hijrah, Maulidur Rasul, Israk Mikraj, Nuzul Quran.

The Chinese
The Chinese came to this country in large numbers towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Penang and Singapore were their main destinations after these two islands were opened up by the British in 1786 and 1819. However, this does not mean that there were no Chinese in the region before this.
Religion – Buddhist, Christian, Taoism, Confucius

Culture 1. Traditional Attire – Samfoo – Men - Cheong Sam- Women 2. Traditional Food – Mee, Soup, Tea, 3. Main Festival- Chinese New Year, Chap Goh Mei, Moon Cake Festival, Ching Ming Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival

The Indians
The first Indian in this country arrived well before the 19th century. They came here as traders. Because of their skills in commerce some of them were appointed as ‘ royal traders’. However, the number of these early Indians was small and they did not effect the population composition of the country.

Religion – Hindu – Vedas & Upanishads Christian, Buddhist, Sikhisme

Practices caste system
-Brahmin
-Ksyatria
-Vaisya
-Sudra

1. Traditional Attire – Dothy, – Men - Saree, Punjabi Suit - Women 2. Traditional Food – Roti Canai, Chapatty, Tossay, curry, dhal, 3. Main Festival- Deepavali, Vasakhy, Thaipusam, Thai Ponggal Festival

Marriage Process:
Merisik – Meminang – Bertunang – Bernikah

Seeking Consent – Ask The Person’s Hand-in Marriage – Engagement - Marriage

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