Malaysia had a long history of being colonized. It
started to become a modern state on August 31st 1957, when British decided to
give independence to the 11 states (they were named Federation of Malaya) as a
precaution to prevent the rise of Communism1.
Rebuilding their political system mostly with British influences, election was
held to determine the leading officials. Tunku Abdul Rahman, President of the
United Malays National Organization made an alliance with the Malayan Chinese
Association (1951) and Malayan Indian Congress (1955) to promote the unity of
ethnicities. The alliance proved to be useful as they won the election in 1955,
dubbing Tunku, the Prime Minister. The alliance was maintained until now and is
named Barisan Nasional (National Front). The event was followed by the
formation of “Malaysia”, in which the 11 states were joined with Singapore,
North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak. With the secession of Singapore in August 9th
1965, Malaysia retained its 14 states until now.
effectively maintain its political system as a liberal democratic country,
practicing vertical accountability among its institution and holds tightly with
its supreme law called the Constitution of Malaysia. Although public rallies do
happened occasionally, none were significant enough to spark a regime change.
However, Malaysia is considered a weak state mainly due to the challenges in
territory (Philippines was claiming Sabah as its territory) and internal
sovereignty (the sudden fall in currency amount and economic crisis led to
public dissatisfaction). Racial tension is also a problem as the population constitute
an even majority of Malay, Chinese and India. A Malaysian gains its nationality
through jus soli.
mostly UK’s parliamentary system, Malaysia consists of the executive and
legislative tied together and judicial branch work independently. The executive
consist of two leaders: the Paramount Ruler (a monarch) as the head of state
and the Prime Minister as the head of government. The Paramount Ruler is
elected alternately from the 9 kings of the 9 monarchial states for 5 years
period. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Cabinet, appointed by the
Paramount Ruler and receive a majority from the house. The legislative branch
consist of two houses: the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) which is the
lower house and contains 219 seats appointed during elections and serve 5 years
and the Senate (Dewan Negara) which is the upper house, 44 elected by the
Paramount Leader and 26 elected by the State Legislature. For the judicial
branch, all of the courts are arranged from top to bottom, which is why it is
very centralized. Different from UK, which is its former colonizing power,
Malaysia does have a judicial review. Malaysia uses an English Common Law
system but quite influenced with the Islamic Law.
had long been a federation but is currently highly centralized. Malaysia uses
Single Member District system in its election. In all of the 14 elections
happened, National Front is the leading party, which is why Malaysia is a
dominant party system. For interest group, the government has little power on
them, with the exception of the LGBT movement, as it is dubbed “unacceptable” for
an Islamic country.
“Malayan Independence.” Malayan Independence | History Today,