State Structure and Political System of Malaysia

By | April 26, 2022

According to microedu, Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. The supreme ruler (king) is elected for 5 years from among 9 hereditary rulers (sultans) of the states of Western Malaya. The 1957 Constitution (as amended) is in force.

Administratively, Malaysia is divided into 13 states: Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Trengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor, Sarawak and Sabah. There are also three federal territories – Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

The largest cities are Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown, Serimban, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Port Klang, Kota Kinabalu.

The main principles of public administration: respect for monarchical traditions, the provisions of the Constitution and the maintenance of interethnic and interfaith harmony. The last point is of paramount importance.

The highest body of legislative power is a bicameral parliament. The upper house, the State Council, consists of 68 members, 26 senators are directly elected by the state legislatures (two from each state) and 42 are appointed by the supreme ruler on the recommendation of the prime minister. The term of office is 3 years, not interrupted by the dissolution of parliament. The lower house, the People’s Council, has 192 deputies. Directly elected from among the parties that won the general election. Functions for 5 years from the date of the beginning of the 1st session. The speaker has broad powers: he chairs the meetings and directs their course, monitoring the observance of procedures, has the right to close or postpone the meeting of the chamber.

The highest body of executive power is the cabinet of ministers. Has the right to make laws and by-laws without the approval of Parliament. To a large extent, the functions of the government are duplicated by the decisions of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The head of state is the supreme ruler, the Sultan of the State of Perlis – Syed Sirajauddin Syed Putra Jamalallail (since December 2001). The head of state, together with the Council of State Sultans, performs the functions of the highest authority for the interpretation of legislative acts.

The head of the executive branch is the prime minister, the leader of the party that won the general election. Prime Minister – Abdullah Badawi (since October 2003).

Political figures: Onn Jafaar, founder of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO); Abdul Rahman – the country’s first prime minister (1957-70); Abdul Razak – Prime Minister (1970-76) Onn Hussain (1976-81), Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003).

The electoral system is based on the principles of direct secret expression of will. The country has a system of polling stations open to all political parties and organizations (with the exception of those outlawed). Local executive power is exercised by the chief ministers of the states, who form local governments on the basis of a majority in the regional legislative assemblies.

The dominant position in domestic political life is occupied by the National Front, which consists of 14 national and regional parties. The leading role belongs to the largest, actually ruling party – the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). Its main coalition partners are the Chinese Association of Malaysia (CAM) and the Indian Congress of Malaysia (ICM).

The opposition is represented by the Malaysian Pan-Islamic Party (PAS), the National Justice Party (NJP), the People’s Party and the Democratic Action Party. The first three are part of the opposition Alternative Front.

Leading business organizations: Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Association of Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Association of China Chambers of Commerce and Industry. There are also state chambers of commerce and industry.

An important role belongs to non-governmental organizations formed mainly along ethnic lines.

Domestic policy is determined by the concept of “Vision 2020”, according to which the country must turn into a modern developed state by the specified date. At the same time, the state of emergency law remains in force, giving the authorities the right to detain persons suspected of subversive activities for an indefinite period; press control law; law on control over the activities of trade unions. These laws have been in force since the state of emergency (1948-60).

The peculiarity of the internal political situation is the concentration of key positions in the state-administrative apparatus in the hands of the Malay community while maintaining the dominant positions in the economy among the ethnic Chinese. The government of Mahathir Mohamad was generally successful in maintaining a balance between these two major national groups.

At the turn of the 21st century there was a noticeable aggravation of the confrontation between the ruling National Front (NF) and the opposition Alternative Front (AF), led by the Pan-Islamic Party (PAS). In the general elections of 1999, the opposition won 27 seats in parliament, PAS led the governments of the states of Kelantan and Trengganu.

In foreign policy, Malaysia is a principled supporter of a multipolar architecture of international relations, at the center of which would be a UN reformed in the interests of developing countries. To the best of its ability, Malaysia opposed the establishment of the sole dominance of any power in the modern world.

Close attention is paid to international economic relations, Malaysia stands for their radical revision, based on the fact that the main problems should be solved through concerted action between the leading industrialized powers and developing countries. In general, positively evaluating the ongoing multilateral negotiations within the framework of the WTO on the liberalization of trade and financial services, Malaysia believed that these processes, having in principle an objective and irreversible nature, should take into account the interests and actual economic situation of the countries of the developing world. The country took a similar position in APEC.

Malaysia is one of the founding members of ASEAN. She actively contributed to the admission of new members to the organization (the states of Indochina, as well as Myanmar).

The Royal Armed Forces number 115 thousand people, incl. Ground forces – 90 thousand people, Navy – 12 thousand people, Air Force – 13 thousand people. They include two main components – regular forces and their reserve, as well as various paramilitary units. The supreme body that develops policy in the field of security and military development is the National Security Council, headed by the Prime Minister. The commander-in-chief is the head of state.

Taking into account the dynamic development of the military-political situation in the region, a course was adopted for the modernization of the Armed Forces. In 1994, a contract was signed for the supply of 18 MiG-29 aircraft (received in 1995), in 2003 – a contract for the supply of 18 SU-30MK fighters.

Malaysia has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on April 3, 1967). Malaysia declared the recognition of the Russian Federation on December 31, 1991.

Malaysia Politics