Legislative Power

This power is about to amend or to make new law or repeal existing laws, to levy taxes or to change existing taxes and to sanction expenditure of public money. Legislative Authority or the power to make laws at the Federal level is vested in the Parliament, which comprises the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Senate and the House of Representatives. At the State level, the power is vested in the respective State legislature, for which elections are held every five years. Some of the laws and provisions made by the Parliament are functions of the Cabinet ministers, foreign conventions, raising of taxes and approval of expenditures, among other things.

EXECUTIVE POWER (ARTICLE 39) Executive power is the power to formulate policies, which will be implemented by the gobermental administrative agencies. Executive Power, or the authority to rule, is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as provided for in Article 39 of the Federal Constitution, but ii can be exercised by a Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is directly responsible to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Every executive action is channelled to the King’s royal authority. However, in accordance with the principle of a democratic ruling system, the Prime Minister is the Chief Executive.

JUDICIAL POWER (ARTICLE 121) Judicial power is the power to hear and determine civil and criminal matters between two parties and to pronounce on the legality of any legistative or executive act and procudures. Judicial power in Malaysia is vested in the Superior Courts (comprising the Federal Court, the Special Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak); and Subordinate Courts (comprising the Sessions Court, the Magistrates’ Court, the Syariah Court, the Juvenile Court, the Penghulu Court and Native Court) as provided for by the Federal Law. The Head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Malaysia. The Federal Court has the jurisdiction to determine the validity of any law made by Parliament or by a State legislature.

EXAMPLE CASES: The Royal Commission of Inquiry Into the V.K. Lingam Video Clip was formed in late 2007 to investigate into an allegation of illegal intervention into the judicial appointment process of Malaysian judges purportedly occurred in 2002. The formation of the commission was a follow-up to a recommendation by a three-man panel which was tasked to determine the authenticity of a video clip of a telephone conversation that raised the allegation.

The allegation was first made public in September 2007 by former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim who released a low quality video showing lawyer V.K. Lingam allegedly talking to former Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim about the appointment of the latter into the office of Chief Justice of the Federal Court. Ahmad Fairuz retired as the Chief Justice of the Federal Court in late 2007 after his tender was not renewed due to objection from the Conference of Rulers.