You are on page 1of 14

THE FEDERAL LEGISLATURE (Art 44-68

)
Art 44: Federal Legislative Authority

Legislative authority for Federation is vested on Parliament

Functions:
-

enact and amend Federal laws (matters falling under the Federal List or the
Concurrent List)
debate matters of the day
approve government financial & expenditures
approves new taxes
examines the government’s policies
forum for criticism
the focus of public opinion on national affairs.

st
The 1 YDPA officially opened the First Parliament on 12 September 1959.
The First Meeting of the First Session, First Parliament took place at Tunku Abdul
Rahman Hall, Jalan Ampang.
The House of Representative consisted of 104 elected Members convened for
the first time a day earlier.
The Senate consisted of 38 nominated Members also had its first meeting a day
earlier.
The occasion saw the beginning of parliamentary democracy in a newly
independent country.
The first Parliament was dissolved on 1 March 1964

Now, 13th Parliament

Parliament meets from Monday to Thursday when it is in session, as Friday is
part of the weekend in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, and now
Johor.

2008 - 2010 = 3rd Sessions

Sitting Arrangement

A.55: When Parliament is dissolved a general election must be held within 60
days from the date of dissolution and Parliament shall be summoned to meet on
a date not later 120 days from that date.





Structure of Parliament
CC Law Legislature Page | 1

Once dissolved: o o general election must be held within 60 days a new parliament must be summoned within 120 days CC Law Legislature Page | 2 . Can withhold consent. Art 60: address both houses (ceremonial) Art 66(1) & (4): granting assent to Bill Summoning and Dissolution of Parliament Art 55  - YDPA Must summons before 6 months elapse from the last sitting Continue for 5 years (unless dissolved earlier) .44 Parliament consist of:   YDPA 2 Majlis (House of Parliament) (i) Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) (ii) Dewan Negara (Senate) Yang Di Pertuan Agong  - Legislative Functions very limited (i) Non-discretionary Art 55(1): summon for Parliament to be in session (on advise) (ii) Discretionary Art 48(3): removed a disqualification of a MP under paragraph (d) or (e) of A.40(2)(b)).43(1) Art 55(2): dissolve the Parliament after request made by PM (A.A. But Parliament will automatically dissolved after 5 years.

undischarged bankrupt.  A.11 Labuan. convicted for crime) Art 51: May resign Art 54: when there is a vacancy it must be filled within 60 days and a by-election must be held   DEWAN NEGARA   Art 45: Consists of 70 members.45(1) – (aa) appointment of two members of Senate for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. hold an office of profit. one member for the Federal Territory of Labuan and one member for the Federal Territory of Putrajaya.1 How the seats is apportioned not provided under the FC Art 48: Disqualification (e. and (b) appointment of forty members of Senate DEWAN RAKYAT     Most important part of legislature Bill commence & debated A general election is held every 5 years to elect members Parties with the majority votes can form a government Composition Art 46   At present consist of 222 elected members 206 members from States in Malaysia    13 from Federal Territories of KL.1 Putrajaya. Labuan and Putrajaya KL . Made up of 2 categories (elected & appointed):CC Law Legislature Page | 3 .g.

iv.3 year term A. cultural activities or social service.48(6))  A. or . commerce. Fails to lodge any return of election expenses Convicted for crime and sentenced to imprisonment not less than 1 year or fine not less than RM2.are representatives of a racial minority or are capable of representing the interests of aborigines.49: cannot be a member of both Houses at the same time A. (A.    A. 26 members elected by the State Legislative Assembly to represent 13 th states (each state represented by two members – 7 Schedule). 2. will be disqualified to be a MP for 5 years.45(3) : Not affected by the dissolution of Parliament A.48: Disqualification Unsound mind Undischarged bankrupt Holds an office of profit.000 A. agriculture.1.45 (3) : His tenure . v. or .have rendered distinguished public services.51: May resign by writing to the Speaker or President of the Senate However.47: Qualification Malaysia citizen & reside in Malaysia Not less than 30 years old – Senator Not less than 21 years old – MP A.have achieved distinction in the professions.53: decision on disqualification of a member of a House will be made by that House and shall be final. iii. (no judicial review) CC Law Legislature Page | 4 . ii. and each from the Federal Territory of Labuan and Putra Jaya) Senator  Senators are drawn from the ranks of persons who .   A. industry. 44 members appointed by the YDPA on the advice of the PM (including 2 from the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.45 (3A): Cannot hold office for more than 2 terms Qualification & Disqualification of members of both Houses Sitting arrangement      i.

the Bill is printed and distributed  Parliamentary Stage: CC Law Legislature Page | 5 . A. A Bill normally originates in the Dewan Rakyat.54: when there is a casual vacancy in Dewan Rakyat. Public Bill: matters concerning public interest such as national defence.67)  Pre-Parliamentary Stage:  - Legislative proposal/draft Bill a government minister/ministry prepares a first draft (Bill) with the assistance of the AG's Department.Until now there are no members of Parliament actually introduce bills because to present a Private Member's Bill. But.  - Consultation the Bill is then discussed by the Cabinet  Printed Bill . (A. Hybrid Bill: matters concerning public interest which also affected the interest of some private bodies/persons. it must be filled within 60 days and a by-election must be held Legislative process  3 types of Bill 1. it is possible for members of the Dewan Negara (Senate) to initiate bills (A.66(2)). a) Government Bill b) Private Member’s Bill.notice to the Secretary of Dewan Rakyat (at least 1 day) . Private Bill: matters related with local/private concern 3. the member in question must seek the leave of the House in question to debate the bill before it is moved.However.financerelated/money bills must be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat. public order & taxation 2.

nd 2 Reading: The most important stage. rd 3 Reading: Formality. otherwise. Parliament must then reconsider the bill and its proposed amendments and return it to his Majesty within 30 days if they pass it again. or in some cases. If the bill passes. CC Law Legislature Page | 6 . Should he disagree with it. Committee Stage: Normally the Committee of the Whole House. a simple majority suffices. it must be sent to the other House. but in certain cases. The Dewan Negara may choose not to pass the bill. Part IV of the FC and in the Standing Orders of both Houses  • • • •        A Bill will go through 3 readings before the Dewan Rakyat. Art 68: Dewan Rakyat may by pass the Dewan Negara.The procedure is set out in Chapter 5. it is sent to the Dewan Negara. once this period expires. st 1 Reading: Formality. Art 66 (4) The YDPA must assented to the Bill by affixing the Public Seal within 30 days of presentation. The minister in charge introduces the Bill by having its title to be read.      Art 66 (3): If the House pass the Bill. a year. Article 66(5): The law shall come into force once it has been gazetted or published. he returns it to Parliament with a list of suggested amendments. where the 3 readings are carried out again. it is presented to the YDPA who has 30 days to consider the bill. The Bill is circulated to MPs and its general principles are debated. The Bill is read again in general terms and put to vote. the bill is considered to have been passed by the house. Minister reports to the House. Details of the Bill are discussed and amendments are considered. A Bill assented by the Yang di-Pertuan shall become Law (called as an Act) Art 66 (4A): If not assented. The law does not take effect until it is published in the Government Gazette. The YDPA then has another 30 days to give the royal assent. Should the bill pass. it passes into law. but this only delays its passage by a month. A 2/3 majority is usually required to pass the bill. after expiration of 30 days it still become law. The other House follow the same procedure. The other Houses must passed the Bill before it is presented to the YDPA for his assent.

A. - Members absent from a House shall not be allowed to vote. The privileges may be stated as follows: (i) Freedom of speech  Members are allowed to speak freely during parliamentary proceedings or debate without fear of legal action on the grounds of defamation or contempt of court. and by individual members of Parliament. This privileges are derived from England which practiced Parliamentary Supremacy. (Art.each House shall regulate its own procedure e. However.62: Parliamentary Procedure .63 (2)) CC Law Legislature Page | 7 . the House may punish them for contempt of the House Notes:     Members of Parliament have certain privileges and immunities (kekebalan).PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGE      The Constitution confers certain rights & legal immunities designated as “Parliamentary Privileges” upon Parliament to enable Parliament to undertake the responsibilities to it fully and effectively. These privileges are spelt out in Art. undue influence or interference or intimidation (ugutan) of legal actions from the public or the government. Also provided under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952. These privileges are meant to enable members of parliament perform their duties and constitutional functions without harassment (gangguan). on voting (but not related with constitutional procedure such as legislative process). It enable members of parliament perform their duties and constitutional functions without harassment. These privileges are spelt out (ditetapkan) in Article 63 of the Federal Constitution and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Revised 1988).g.63 and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Revised 1988). undue influence or interference or intimidation of legal actions from the public or the government. This means that members enjoy immunity from civil as well as criminal proceedings with regard to anything said or any vote given by him / her while taking part in parliamentary debate and discussion. These privileges are enjoyed by each House as a whole.

Immunity from civil or criminal proceedings    No member shall be liable to civil or criminal action.72 of that state constitution)  Internal matters of Parliament Not justiciable Court has no jurisdiction. minority rights and status and position of the Malay rulers are also prohibited.63(1): the validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament or any committee shall not be questioned in any court. resolution. However.Freedom of publication  No member shall be liable to any legal action in respect of anything published by or under the authority of both houses of parliament. motion or anything said or done by him/her in parliament. Members charged with an offence under the Sedition Act 1948 shall be liable to criminal proceedings. (for state refer A.FC Tun Datu Haji Mustapha bin Datu Harun v Legislative Assembly of State of Sabah [1986] 2 MLJ 388 CC Law Legislature Page | 8 .g. no judicial review. A. The judiciary is unable to correct abuses of parliamentary proceedings. “bodoh” and racist and sexist remarks are prohibited). (Article 63 (3)). imprisonment or damages for any matter that he/she may have brought by petition. This rule was derived from the English Bill of Rights 1689 Gobind Singh Deo v Yang Dipertua Dewan Rakyat [2010] 2 MLJ 674 Sivakumar a/l Varatharaju Naidu v Ganesan a/l Retanam [2010] 7 MLJ 355 YAB Dato’ Dr Zambry bin Abd Kadir v YB Sivakumar a/l Varatharaju Naidu [2009] 4 MLJ 24. bill. Discussion on sensitive issues like national language. words such as “liar”. “kurang ajar”. arrest. it must be noted that members are not allowed to use unparliamentarily language during debates (e. Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Revised 1988). (Section 7. The Parliamentary Committee of Privileges has the power to punish members for contempt of the house (penghinaan dewan).

g. D.    Members are allowed to speak freely during parliamentary proceedings or debate without fear of legal action on the grounds of defamation or contempt of court. This means that members enjoy immunity from civil as well as criminal proceedings with regard to anything said or any vote given by him / her while taking part in parliamentary debate and discussion.Haji Salleh bin Jafaruddin v Datuk Celestine Ujang [1986] 2 MLJ 412 Lim Cho Hock v Speaker Perak State Legislative Assembly [1979] 2 MLJ 85 Fan Yew Teng v Government of Malaysia [1976] 2 MLJ 262 IGP v Lim Kim Hoong [1979] 2 MLJ 291 Lim Woon Chong v PP [1979] 2 MLJ 246 General Rule (ii) A. conversation in Parliamentary café.63 (2): Freedom of speech A person will not be liable in court for anything said by him while taking part in any proceedings of either Houses or committee. (ii) A. ‘No person’ = include also non-members and outsiders ‘in proceedings’ = not inside the House premises.g.63(3): Freedom of Publication A person will not be liable in court for anything published by him/under the authority of either Houses CC Law Legislature Page | 9 . (Section 7.R SEENIVASAGAM [1966] 2 MLJ 66 SECK MUN FOO V DATUK HARIS MOHD SALLEH [1997] 1 CLJ 321. e. Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Revised 1988). legislative process ABDUL RAHMAN TALIB v. media conference at Parliamentary lobby Proceeding does not include constitutional procedure e.

As members of the ultimate legislative body. MPs are responsible for passing.e. Hansard. parliamentary notice board. official reports of Parliamentary proceedings However.000. And even more recently. newspaper reports of parliamentary proceeding are not protected. Sabak Bernam MP Abdul Rahman Bakri was charged for corruption offences and could lose his seat if he is found guilty. and was sentenced to six months’ jail and fined RM3. they are actually subject to more laws than the average citizen. correspondence/letters between MPs. CC Law Legislature Page | 10 . He stands to lose his seat in the Dewan Rakyat if his appeal is not successful. media interview. unofficial EXCEPTION  Not applicable outside the proceeding of the House LIM KIT SIANG [1979] 2 MLJ 37  Art 63 (4): Not applicable to person charged with (i) an offence under the law passed by Parliament under A. MARK KODING [1983] 1 MLJ 111   Art 66 (5): not applicable if he advocates the abolishment of constitutional position of the YDPA or Ruler of a State. One wakil rakyat who is in a dicey situation is Batu MP Tian Chua.g.10 (4) (ii) an offence under Sedition Act 1948 as amended by the Emergency (Essential Power) Ordinance 1970. YOU may be an elected member but that doesn’t put you above the law. Members of Parliament (MPs) have to live up to a standard of conduct or risk losing their seat in the august chambers. He was found guilty of biting a police officer on Oct 23. In fact. Despite certain immunities and privileges that Members of Parliament enjoy.

powers and immunities are spelt out in law. Prof Shad opines that discussion before decision is crucial – without which. and that jail terms and fines may not be an adequate measure.amending and repealing acts of law that every citizen in the country has to live by. but what about minor offences not related to integrity? CC Law Legislature Page | 11 . hold an office of profit. “MPs should be as free as possible to speak their minds (in Parliament).” Being elected to the position is a great honour and it comes with certain privileges and specific rules that they have to uphold. Minor offences “It is a question of the seriousness of the crime. represent the interests of the constituency. are: those who are of unsound mind. Bon says that some of the criteria are plain common sense. Says Universiti Teknologi Mara Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi: “They should be people we can look up to as role models. Taking the example of an undischarged bankrupt. as detailed in Article 48. at least MPs have their say.  the Constitution lists down some disqualification criteria which. The scope of their privileges. Thus. or failed to lodge return of election expenses. they should be squeaky clean. and not be fearful of any repercussions. These principles have been used in England and continue here. It is necessary they act and live above the timberline of the ordinary. spread over a few pieces of legislature such as the Federal Constitution and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (the Act) (see chart on next page). he says: “It is logical that bankruptcy shows that one is unable to manage money. the position they hold is an important one and they are expected to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. the history of parliamentary privilege – in England. “Although the government may have its way.000. hence the immunities and privileges. He also feels that the disqualification requirement for those who are convicted needs to be reviewed. Bon questions.” he says. so what happens if they cannot be trusted with money. at least – is to encourage freedom of speech and debate and to be free from threats of arrest and bodily harm. In principle.” MPs are going to deal with thousands of ringgit.” he adds. is a citizen or pledged allegiance to another country. are convicted of a criminal offence and jailed for more than a year or fined more than RM2. These criteria speak of the integrity and suitability of an individual to be an MP. there can be no democracy.

They can always state that the person is lying and can bring up the proof. This immunity is not absolute.” he says. adding that the crimes that apply should be a “registrable offence” as defined by the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969. citing the example of a bankrupt who may have been declared such because he stood as guarantor for someone else’s loan. This law has been relaxed marginally by Article 63(5). Bon says there is still a need for decorum in Parliament. After all. which subjects all proceedings to the Sedition Act 1948. “If they have a report about corruption but are not sure if it is accurate. “Not all crimes are crimes of bad character. However.” he says. political problems or issues of everyday life can be brought up.“Say the offence was committed 20 years ago – that person has served his time and should be allowed to run for office. “It is the only place where problems of the constituency. however. adding that some can occur for innocent reasons. It should be where there is clear-cut mens rea. they may still be held for contempt of the House. what they should do is counter it with more speeches. you will get into trouble. as prescribed by S7 of the Act and S63(2) of the Constitution. “No matter how injurious a statement is. otherwise MPs will not be able to do their job and function effectively for the people who elected them. there is a case for some criteria to be reviewed. they can say it in Parliament. says Prof Shad.” he explains. There is a single exception to the rule under Article 63(4) of the Constitution. one of the most important privileges that an MP has is the immunity from prosecution for anything said in the House.” he says. this is a house of debate. as prescribed by S9 of the Act.” says Bon. This is why the challenge to “repeat what you said outside Parliament” is sometimes heard.” he says. CC Law Legislature Page | 12 . in relation to discussing rulers – MPs are allowed to question their conduct as long as they do not call for the abolition of their positions. or intention to commit the crime. Bon says this immunity is vital. While MPs may be free from prosecution in courts. There are other avenues – he can file a suit or make a police report – but if you do not have the proof. Similarly.

Another privilege is that all proceedings in the house are exempt from scrutiny of the courts. The Speaker of the house subsequently held the policeman in contempt of the house and sent him to jail. where Government consists of three branches – the executive (Cabinet). Sivakumar.” he says. the Federal Court held that Sivakumar did not have the authority to suspend Dr Zambry and six Barisan Nasional executive council members from the state assembly. The assembly then ordered the judge to answer a charge of contempt of the House. However. “Isn’t this taking things too far? We cannot allow the Speaker of the House to become a Napoleon. It cannot be allowed to mean that the House is totally beyond judicial control. and a high court judge released him. as prescribed by the Constitution in Article 63(1) and 63(3). legislature (Parliament) and judiciary. If they are so immune. Prof Shad gives the example of a case in Uttar Pradesh. the court said it could not interfere with Gobind’s suspension from the House because it was exempt. and so on. “This kind of omnibus clause is very much in need of a restrictive interpretation. In the former. however. why can’t their actions be similarly declared?” he asks. But if there is a constitutional matter that involves CC Law Legislature Page | 13 . “I fully support the (Federal) court’s decision. The assemblyman said he had to serve the needs of his constituency but a policeman on duty refused him entry. agrees with the Federal Court decision to review house proceedings. Prof Shad. the legal position has been blurred by court decisions involving MP for Puchong Gobind Sigh Deo and the Federal Court decision concerning Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and former Speaker V. but in the latter. “Why is there a difference in the legal reasoning between two similar cases?” asks Bon. it should be left alone in administrative matters such as the time to start. the decision appears to disregard the doctrine of separation of powers. how many readings. He then filed a writ of habeas corpus questioning the legality of the detention. how come courts have the power to declare laws unconstitutional? So if laws can be declared null and void. I am not of the point of view that the House is totally immune from judicial scrutiny. His interpretation of Article 63 is that the House is in charge of procedural matters which do not involve the constitution. India. In any case. Each has specific and independent constitutional powers which neither of the others can encroach upon. where an assemblyman went to an area where curfew had been declared by a magistrate. Yes. he says.

” says Prof Shad. adding that Malaysia has doctrines which allow the Federal Court to reopen its own decisions. that is best left to the courts. be it at the judiciary.interpretation of laws. CC Law Legislature Page | 14 . “No one should be above the law – even the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is under the law.” he says. “So no matter how high and mighty you are. the law should be still above you. executive or the legislative level. Nobody should be immune to judicial scrutiny – even the courts themselves. “I do not support the view that the House is totally immune.