This article is part of the series:
of Malaysia takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Malaysia is the head of government, and of a pluriform
multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.
Federal legislative power is vested in both the government
and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate
(Dewan Negara) and the House of
Representatives (Dewan Rakyat). Since the formation of
political process in
Like the desire of a segment of the Muslim community for an Islamic State, the non-Malay demand for complete equality is something that the present Constitution will not be able to accommodate. For it is a demand which pierces the very heart of the political system ¡ª a system based upon Malay political pre-eminence. It is a demand that challenges the very source of Malay ruling elites' power and authority.
In early September 1998, Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad dismissed Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and accused Anwar of immoral and corrupt conduct. Anwar said his ouster actually owed to political differences and led a series of demonstrations advocating political reforms. Later in September, Anwar was arrested, beaten while in prison (by among others, the chief of police at the time), and charged with corrupt practices, in both legal and moral contexts, charges including obstruction of justice and sodomy. In April 1999, he was convicted of four counts of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison. In August 2000, Anwar was convicted of one count of sodomy and sentenced to nine years to run consecutively after his earlier six-year sentence. Both trials were viewed by domestic and international observers as unfair. Anwar's conviction on sodomy has since been overturned, and having completed his six-year sentence for corruption, he has since been released from prison. In the November 1999 general election, the Barisan Nasional was returned to power with three-fourths of the parliamentary seats, but UMNO's seats dropped from 94 to 72. The opposition Barisan Alternatif coalition, led by the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), increased its seats to 42. PAS retained control of the state of Kelantan and won the additional state of Terengganu.
The current Prime Minister is Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (colloquially known as "Pak Lah"). He took office following the retirement of Dr. Mahathir (now Tun Dr. Mahathir) on October 31, 2003. He is seen as a more compromising and affable figure as opposed to Tun Dr. Mahathir's more confrontational and direct style. He has pledged to continue Tun Dr. Mahathir's growth oriented policies, while taking a less belligerent stance on foreign policy than Tun Dr. Mahathir, who has regularly offended Western countries, the United States of America and Australia in particular.
In the March 2004 general election, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi led Barisan Nasional to a landslide victory, in which Barisan Nasional recaptured the state of Terengganu. The coalition now controls 92% of the seats in Parliament. In 2005, Mahathir stated that "I believe that the country should have a strong government but not too strong. A two-thirds majority like I enjoyed when I was prime minister is sufficient but a 90% majority is too strong. ... We need an opposition to remind us if we are making mistakes. When you are not opposed you think everything you do is right."
The national media are largely controlled by the government and by political parties in the Barisan Nasional/National Front ruling coalition and the opposition has little access to the media. The print media are controlled by the Government through the requirement of obtaining annual publication licences under the Printing and Presses Act. In 2007, a government agency ¡ª the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission ¡ª issued a directive to all private television and radio stations to refrain from broadcasting speeches made by opposition leaders. The official state ideology is the Rukunegara, which has been described as encouraging "respect for a pluralistic, multireligious and multicultural society". However, political scientists have argued that the slogan of Bangsa, Agama, Negara (race, religion, nation) used by UMNO constitutes an unofficial ideology as well. Both ideologies have "generally been used to reinforce a conservative political ideology, one that is Malay-centred"
Executive power is vested in the cabinet led by the prime minister; the Malaysian constitution stipulates that the prime minister must be a member of the lower house of parliament who, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commands a majority in parliament. The cabinet is chosen from among members of both houses of Parliament and is responsible to that body.
recent years the opposition have been campaigning for
freer and fairer elections within
On 11 November, the Malaysian government briefly detained de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday and arrested a human rights lawyer and about a dozen opposition leaders, amid growing complaints the government is cracking down on dissent. Dozens of policemen blocked the main entrance to the parliament building in Kuala Lumpur to foil an opposition-led rally demanding free and fair elections. The rally carried out hand with the attempt to submit a protest note to Parliament over a government-backed plan to amend a law that would extend the tenure of the Election Commission chief, whom the opposition claims is biased.
The Parliament building in
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate
(Dewan Negara) and the House of
Representatives (Dewan Rakyat).
All seventy Senate members sit for three-year terms (to a maximum of two
terms); twenty-six are elected by the thirteen state assemblies, and forty-four
are appointed by the king based on the advice of the Prime Minister. The 219
members of the Dewan Rakyat
are elected from single-member districts by universal adult suffrage.
Parliament has a maximum mandate of five years by law. The king may dissolve
parliament at any time and usually does so upon the advice of the Prime
Minister. General elections must be held within
three months of the dissolution of parliament. In practice this has meant that
elections have been held every three to five years at the discretion of the Prime
Minister. Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures.
state governments are led by chief ministers (Menteri Besar or Ketua Menteri, the
latter term being used in states without hereditary rulers), selected by the
state assemblies (Dewan Undangan
Negeri) advising their respective sultans or
legal system is based on English common law. However, most of the laws and
the constitution are adapted from Indian law. The Federal Court reviews
decisions referred from the Court of Appeals; it has original jurisdiction in
constitutional matters and in disputes between states or between the federal
government and a state. Peninsular
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Malaysia"