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Political System of Malaysia


Malaysia is a federal parliamentary monarchy, the Prime Minister of Malaysia is the head of government, and there is multi-party system.


The Malaysian political system refers to all those regulations and practices and the structure of laws that show how the government is run. Malaysian political system has a unique foundation on which the country's machinery functions.

The Constitutional System

The Constitution of Malaysia was drafted based on the advice of the Reid Commission which conducted a study in 1956 . The Constitution came into force on August 27, 1957.

• Executive Branch

Malaysia, a federal constitutional elective monarchy, is nominally headed by the Paramount Ruler or Yang di-Pertuan Agong , commonly referred to as the King of Malaysia.

Selected for a term of five-years from among the nine Sultans of the Malay states, the king also is the leader of the Islamic faith in Malaysia.

The other four states, which have titular Governors, do not participate in the selection. The political system of Malaysia is closely modeled on that of Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of British colonial rule.

Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi has been the Prime Minister since 31 October 2003 chosen from the lower house of parliament.

The Executive power is vested in the cabinet led by the prime minister. The members of the cabinet are all chosen from among members of both houses of Parliament and are responsible to that body.

• Legislative Branch

Malaysia has a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Senate or Dewan Negara with 70 seats; 44 appointed by the paramount ruler, 26 appointed by the state legislatures and the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat with 219 seats; members of which are elected by popular vote to serve a term of five-years.

The legislative power of the political system of Malaysia is divided between the federal and the state legislatures.

• Judicial Branch

The Malaysian legal system is based on English common law and most of the laws and the constitution are adapted from Indian law .

There are the Federal Court, Court of Appeals, high courts, session's courts, magistrate's courts, and juvenile courts. The judges of the Federal Court are appointed by the paramount ruler on the advice of the prime minister.

The federal government has authority over external affairs, defense, internal security, justice, federal citizenship, finance, commerce, industry, communications, transportation, and other matters.

• The Party in Power

The ruling party, which is also a coalition, is the Barisan Nasional (National Front) consisting of United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and 13 other parties, most of which are ethnically based.

Other parties include Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Islam se Malaysia (PAS) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). In total there are more than 30 registered political parties, all of which are represented in the federal parliament.

• State Governments

The state governments are led by chief ministers , nominated by the state assemblies and advising their respective sultans or governors.

There are 13 states and three federal territories which are Kuala Lumpur, Labuan Island and the Putrajaya federal administrative territory.

Each of these states has an assembly and government headed by a chief minister. Nine of these states have hereditary rulers, generally titled 'sultans', while the remaining four have appointed governors in counterpart positions.