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7 - Malaysia

The undermining of its fundamental institutions and the prospects for reform

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2011

Tsun Hang Tey
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore
E. Ann Black
Affiliation:
University of Queensland
Gary F. Bell
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore
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Summary

Introduction

Malaysia

Malaysia is geographically divided into two distinct regions: Peninsular Malaysia (also known as West Malaysia), and East Malaysia, which consists of the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The plurality of its society is reflected in the diverse range of laws that make up its legal system.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (or King) is the Supreme Head of the Federation. As the head of state, he is in charge of the three branches of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. However, the King's discretion is very limited. He is obliged to act on the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister authorised by the Cabinet (usually the Prime Minister, who is the head of government) except as otherwise provided by the Federal Constitution.

The Conference of Rulers elects a Ruler as the King for five years. Each Malay State has a Ruler and each of the four states which were formerly British colonies – Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak – have a Governor (Yang di-Pertua Negeri). Although the head of state of his or her territory, under the Federal Constitution, each Ruler and Governor is nevertheless obliged to act on the advice of the State Executive Council or a member thereof. The Conference of Rulers consists of all the nine Rulers and four Governors. It is a highly influential body that provides an intimate link between the federal and state governments at the highest level.

Type
Chapter
Information
Law and Legal Institutions of Asia
Traditions, Adaptations and Innovations
, pp. 212 - 261
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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Sarat, AScheingold, S (eds), Cause Lawyering – Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998Google Scholar
Ahmad, Sharifah Suhana, ‘Malaysian Legal System’, Malayan Law Journal Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, 1999, p. 1Google Scholar
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Mohamed, TunAbas, Salleh, May Day for Justice, Magnus Books, Kuala Lumpur, 1989Google Scholar
Suffian, Tun Mohamed, ‘The Judiciary – During the First Twenty Years of Independence’, in Suffian, MohammedLee, Hashim, H P and Trindale, F A (eds), The Constitution of Malaysia, its Development: 1957–1977, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1978Google Scholar
Suffian, Tun Mohamed, An Introduction to the Legal System of Malaysia, Penerbit Fajar Bakti Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, 1988Google Scholar
Jewa, Tunku Sofiah, Public International Law – A Malaysian Perspective, vol. 1, Pacifica Publications, Kuala Lumpur, 1996Google Scholar
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Ayer Molek Rubber Co Bhd v Insas Bhd [1995] 2 MLJ 734
China Insurance Co Ltd v Loong Moh Co Ltd [1964] 30 MLJ 307
Daihatsu (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd v Pendakwa Raya [1987] 1 MLJ 88
Hakim Lee [1997] 4 CLJ Supp 419
Isa Abdul Rahman [1992] 2 MLJ 244
Kaliammal a/p Sinnasamy lwn Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) dan Lain-lain [2006] 1 MLJ 685
Latifah btw Mat Zin v Rosmawati Sharibun [2006] MLJ 196
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Atan, H, ‘5 in Lingam Case Can Appeal’, New Straits Times, 15 December 2008
Balarajah, S, ‘The Role of the Malaysian Bar – Its Struggles and Achievements’, INSAF: The Journal of the Malaysian Bar, Bar Council, Kuala Lumpur, vol. XXXIV, no. 2, 2005Google Scholar
Chan, J, ‘The Reception of English Law under ss 3 and 5 of the Civil Law Act 1956 (Revised 1972)’ (1994) JMCL, p. 42
Chan, N H, Judging the Judges, Alpha Sigma, Malaysia, 2007Google Scholar
‘Confirmed: New Anti-Graft Body Will Not Have Prosecutor Powers’, Malaysiakini, 10 December 2008
Crouch, H, Government and Society in Malaysia, Cornell University Press, Cornell, 1996Google Scholar
Denham, , The Hon Mrs Justice Susan, ‘The Diamond in a Democracy: An Independent, Accountable Judiciary’, The Judicial Review, vol. 5, 2001, p. 31Google Scholar
Dicey, A V, An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, 10th ed, Macmillan, London, 1959Google Scholar
Felker, G, ‘Malaysia in 1999: Mahatir's Pyrrhic Deliverance’, Asian Survey, vol. XL, no. 1, 2000, p. 49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frank, B, Markowitz, J C, McKay, R BRoth, K, Decline in the Rule of Law in Singapore and Malaysia, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, 1990Google Scholar
Gomez, L, ‘5 Fail in Bid to Review Royal Commission's Findings’, New Straits Times, 13 December 2008
‘Graft Cases Against Big Guns Lodged to Test MACC’, Malaysiakini, 2 January 2009
Harding, A, Law, Government and the Constitution of Malaysia, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 1996Google Scholar
Harding, A, ‘The Problems and Characteristics of Judicial Review in Malaysia’, in Zhang, Y, Comparative Studies on the Judicial Review System in East and Southeast Asia, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 1997Google Scholar
Kaur, Harvinder, ‘Malaysian Legal Information on the Web’, International Journal of Legal Information, vol. 34, no. 3, 2006, p. 526Google Scholar
Honourable, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, The, ‘The Diamond in a Democracy: An Independent, Accountable Judiciary’, The Judicial Review, vol. 5, 2001, p. 31Google Scholar
,International Bar Association, Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000, report of a mission on behalf of the International Bar Association, ICJ Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Union Internationale, 5 April 2000
Jomo, K SWong, S N, Law, Institutions and Malaysian Economic Development, NUS Press, Singapore, 2008Google Scholar
‘Jurisdictional Imbroglio: Civil and Religious Courts, Turf Wars and Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution’, in Harding, A and Lee, H PConstitutional Landmarks in Malaysia: The First Fifty Years 1957–2007, LexisNexis, Singapore, 2007
,Justice Dato James Foong, Malaysian Judiciary: A Record, 2nd ed, Sweet & Maxwell Asia, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 2002Google Scholar
Karim, F N, ‘The Last Straw That Broke His Back’, New Straits Times, 17 September 2008
,Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Malaysia: Assault on the Judiciary, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York, 1990Google Scholar
Lee, H P, Constitutional Conflicts in Contemporary Malaysia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1995Google Scholar
Lee, H P, ‘The Judiciary under Siege’ in Constitutional Conflicts in Contemporary Malaysia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1995Google Scholar
Lee, H P, ‘Competing Conceptions of Rule of Law in Malaysia’, in Peerenboom, R P, Asian Discourses of Rule of Law: Theories and Implementation of Rule of Law in Twelve Asian Countries, France and the US, RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004Google Scholar
Lee, H P, ‘The Malaysian Constitution after 50 Years – Retrospective, Prospective and Comparative PerspectivesAsian Law, vol. 1, no. 2, 2007, p. 307Google Scholar
Lev, D, ‘Lawyers’ Causes in Indonesia and Malaysia', in Sarat, AScheingold, S (eds), Cause Lawyering – Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998Google Scholar
Manring, T A, ‘National Integration and Legal Systems: Malaysia’, Malayan Law Review, vol. 10, 1968, p. 29Google Scholar
Martinez, P, ‘Malaysia in 2000: A Year of Contradictions’, Asian Survey, vol. XLI, no. 1, 2001, p. 189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milne, DMauzy, R, Malaysian Politics under Mahathir, Routledge, London, 1999Google Scholar
Nijar, G S, ‘The Rule of Law in Malaysia’, In European Committee for Human Rights in Malaysia and Singapore (eds), The Rule of Law and Human Rights in Malaysia and Singapore, Selangor, Malaysia, Forum Publications, 1990Google Scholar
Elin, NikNik, Zurina BtRashid, Abdul, ‘Court Jesters’, Praxis Chronicle of the Malaysian Bar, January/June 2008
Beng, Ooi Kee, Lost in Transition: Malaysia under Abdullah, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 2008Google Scholar
‘Opposition Lodges Several Complaints with New Malaysian Corruption Watchdog’, Global Insight Daily Analysis, 5 January 2009
Yatim, Rais, Freedom under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy, Endowment Publications, Kuala Lumpur, 1995Google Scholar
Ramakrishnan, P, ‘Judiciary and Corruption’, Aliran Monthly, vol. 25, no. 6, 2005Google Scholar
Rutter, M F, ‘The Applicable Law in Singapore and Malaysia’, Malayan Law Journal, Singapore, 1989Google Scholar
Sarat, AScheingold, S (eds), Cause Lawyering – Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998Google Scholar
Ahmad, Sharifah Suhana, ‘Malaysian Legal System’, Malayan Law Journal Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, 1999, p. 1Google Scholar
Shah, Sultan Azlan, Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance: Selected Essays and Speeches, Thomson Sweet & Maxwell Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2004Google Scholar
‘Tengku Adnan to Appeal Decision’, New Straits Times, 14 December 2008
Tey, T H, ‘Malaysia: The Fierce Politico-Legal Backlash’, Singapore Journal of International and Comparative Law, vol. 3, 1999, p. 1Google Scholar
Li-Ann, Thio, ‘Jurisdictional Imbroglio: Civil and Religious Courts, Turf Wars and Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution’, in Harding, A and Lee, H P (eds), Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia: The First Fifty Years 1957–2007, LexisNexis, Singapore, 2007Google Scholar
Trindade, F A, ‘The Removal of the Malaysian Judges’, Law Quarterly Review, vol. 106, 1990, p. 51Google Scholar
Trowell, M, ‘Anwar Ibrahim's Long Struggle for Justice’, INSAF: The Journal of the Malaysian Bar, vol. XXXIV, no. 1, 2005, p. 6Google Scholar
Mohamed, TunAbas, Salleh, May Day for Justice, Magnus Books, Kuala Lumpur, 1989Google Scholar
Suffian, Tun Mohamed, ‘The Judiciary – During the First Twenty Years of Independence’, in Suffian, MohammedLee, Hashim, H P and Trindale, F A (eds), The Constitution of Malaysia, its Development: 1957–1977, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1978Google Scholar
Suffian, Tun Mohamed, An Introduction to the Legal System of Malaysia, Penerbit Fajar Bakti Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, 1988Google Scholar
Jewa, Tunku Sofiah, Public International Law – A Malaysian Perspective, vol. 1, Pacifica Publications, Kuala Lumpur, 1996Google Scholar
Sinnadurai, Visu, ‘The 1988 Judiciary Crisis and its Aftermath’, in Harding, ALee, H P (eds), Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia, The First 50 years 1957–2007, LexisNexis, Singapore, 2007Google Scholar
Aun, Wu Min, ‘The Malaysian Judiciary: Erosion of Confidence’, Australian Journal of Asian Law, vol. 1, no. 2, 1999, p. 124Google Scholar
Aun, Wu Min, The Malaysian Legal System, 2nd edn, Longman, Singapore, 1999Google Scholar
Aun, Wu Min, Public Law in Contemporary Malaysia, Longman, Kuala Lumpur, 1999Google Scholar
Aun, Wu Min, ‘The Saga of Anwar Ibrahim’, in Harding, ALee, H P, Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia, The First 50 Years 1957–2007, LexisNexis, Singapore, 2007Google Scholar
‘Zaid Says Some Umno Ministers Resisting Reforms’, The Edge Financial Daily, 17 September 2008
Abidin, ZainalAhmad, B, ‘Legal Aid in Malaysia: A Critique’, Degree of Bachelor of Laws Project Paper, University of Malaya, 1975Google Scholar
Abdul Shaik v Hussein Ibrahim [1999] MLJ 149
Ayer Molek Rubber Co Bhd v Insas Bhd [1995] 2 MLJ 734
China Insurance Co Ltd v Loong Moh Co Ltd [1964] 30 MLJ 307
Daihatsu (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd v Pendakwa Raya [1987] 1 MLJ 88
Hakim Lee [1997] 4 CLJ Supp 419
Isa Abdul Rahman [1992] 2 MLJ 244
Kaliammal a/p Sinnasamy lwn Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) dan Lain-lain [2006] 1 MLJ 685
Latifah btw Mat Zin v Rosmawati Sharibun [2006] MLJ 196
Lim Chan Seng [1996] 3 CLJ 23
Ngo Bee Chan v Chia Teck Kim (1919) 2 MC 25
Noor Jahan v Md Yusoff [1994] 2 CLJ 249
Norlela Habibullah v Yusuf Maldoner [2004] 2 CLJ 541
Permodalan Plantations Sdn Bhd v Rachuta Sdn Bhd [1985] 1 MLJ 157
PP v Yap Peng [1987] 2 MLJ 311
Sarwarri [2001] 6 MLJ 737
Seng Djit Hin v Nagurdas Purshotumdas & Co (1923) AC 444
Shaik Zolkaffily [2003] 3 CLJ 289
Soon Singh [1999] 1 MLJ 489
Sukma Darmawan [1999] 1 MLJ 266
United Malayan Banking Corp Bhd v Pemungut Hasil Tanah, Kota Tinggi [1984] 2 MLJ 87
‘Activist's Case Shows Up Malaysian Judiciary’ (24 November 2008) The Malaysian Bar <http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/bar_news/berita_badan_peguam/activists_case_shows_up_malaysian_judiciary.html>
Sreenevasan, Ambiga, Seniority Important Factor in Judicial Appointments (5 April 2007) Malaysian Bar Council Press Statement, The Malaysian Bar <http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/press_statements/press_release_seniority_important_factor_in_judicial_appointments.html>
Sreenevasan, Ambiga, ‘Cease Harassment of Advocates Performing Their Duties’ (2008) The Malaysian Bar <http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/press_statements/malaysian_bars_press_release_cease_harassment_of_advocates_performing_their_duties.html>
‘Attacks on Justice – Malaysia’ (2008) International Commission of Jurists <http://icj.org/IMG/MALAYSIA.pdf>
‘Bar Council's Comments on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2008’ (2008) The Malaysian Bar <www.malaysianbar.org.my/…/bar_councils_comments_on_the_judicial_appointments_commission_bill_2008.html>
‘Can Malaysia Judge its Judges?’ (30 January 2008) Asia Sentinel <http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1015&Itemid=178>
Sreenevasan, Dato Ambiga, ‘The Role of Lawyers in the Administration of Justice’ Project Malaysia <http://www.projectmalaysia.org/articles/the-role-of-lawyers-in-the-administration-of-justice.html>
Sreenevasan, Dato Ambiga, ‘Let Right Be Done’ (16 December 2008) Aliran Monthly <http://www.aliran.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=789&Itemid=10>
Fadiah Nadwa Binti Fikri, ‘BCLAC Responds: Government's Responsibility to Promote Legal Aid (2 June 2008) The Malaysian Bar http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/national_legal_aid/bclac_responds_governments_responsibility_to_promote_legal_aid.html>
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  • Malaysia
  • Edited by E. Ann Black, University of Queensland, Gary F. Bell, National University of Singapore
  • Book: Law and Legal Institutions of Asia
  • Online publication: 01 June 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921131.008
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  • Malaysia
  • Edited by E. Ann Black, University of Queensland, Gary F. Bell, National University of Singapore
  • Book: Law and Legal Institutions of Asia
  • Online publication: 01 June 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921131.008
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Malaysia
  • Edited by E. Ann Black, University of Queensland, Gary F. Bell, National University of Singapore
  • Book: Law and Legal Institutions of Asia
  • Online publication: 01 June 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921131.008
Available formats
×