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Federal constitution of Malaysia: a historical overview

Syed Jaafar Albar, Syed Hamid and Ali Mohamed, Ashgar Ali and Ahmad, Muhamad Hassan (2022) Federal constitution of Malaysia: a historical overview. In: Constitutional Law in Malaysia. LexisNexis Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Bangsar South City, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 21-48. ISBN 9789672701637

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In the contemporary world, the majority of States have written constitutions except in a few countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel, among others. Even though a country may not have a constitution, there exist legal instruments or documents with the characteristics of a constitution prescribing imperative rules for the governance of that country. Typically, the constitution is not only the supreme law of the land but also the foundation of all other kinds of law of a country. In general, a constitution lays down the structure of the state, the rights of its subjects, the structure of the government and the legislative bodies, and the composition of the courts, among others. It covers the basic rights and liberty of the individuals and various branches of government with regard to each other and to the public at large. Thus, it deals with the relationship not only between the State and the individuals but also between different State organs such as the executive, legislative, and judiciary. Definitely, it is crucial for new emerging States to have a documentary form of constitution as guidance on how the country should be governed and administered in accordance with the rule of law. In view of that, the Federation of Malaya opted to have a written constitution specifically tailored to suit its political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and racial background before gaining independence. In 1956, the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission was tasked to make recommendations for a federal constitution that would pave the way to independence. In early 1957, the said Commission submitted its Report which was further perfected by a Working Party and created a new constitution for the Federation of Malaya that came into force on 31 August 1957. On the same day, the ‘Federation of Malaya’ gained its independence from the British. In 1963, the nation was reformed as ‘Malaysia’ after Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation. Nonetheless, in 1965, Singapore was ‘expelled’ from the Federation due to the political differences between the Federal and the State governments. It is undeniable that the Federal Constitution has always been the cornerstone upon which the Malaysian multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society rests firmly since independence.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Federal Constitution, Federation of Malaya, Malaysia, Reid Commission.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K3165 Constitutional Law
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws
Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws > Department of Civil Law
Depositing User: Dr. Muhamad Hassan Ahmad
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2023 10:46
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2023 10:46
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/103958

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