Malaysia in Asia

Introduction to Malaysia

According to the work “Guide to Foreign and International Citations”, by the Journal of International Law and Politics (New York University School of Law):

The Federation of Malaysia was established on August 31, 1957. The name “Malaysia”
was adopted on September 16, 1963. Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a
constitutional monarch. It is composed of 13 states and 3 federal territories. The official
language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu. Malaysia’s legal system is based on common law

The Constitution is Malaysia’s foundational law. It separates governmental authority
between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Executive power is vested in the
Paramount Ruler (Yang di-Pertuan Agong), who is the head of state, and is exercised by the
Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.

The legislative power is vested in a bicameral Parliament (Parlimen) comprised of the
sixty-nine member Senate (Dewan Negara), of which forty-three are appointed by the Paramount
Ruler and twenty-six by the state legislatures, and the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat),
whose 193 members are directly elected by popular vote weighted toward the rural Malay
population to five-year terms. Parliament enacts legislation and may delegate authority to
subsidiary persons or bodies.

Judicial power is vested in the courts. The Federal Court is the highest court. Federal
Court Judges are appointed by the Paramount Ruler on the advice of the Prime Minister. The
court system below the Federal Court is organized in two branches. The highest court in the first
branch is the High Court of Malaya, under which are the Sessions Court, Magistrates Court, and
Penghulu’s Court. The highest court in the second branch is the High Court of Borneo, under
which are the native courts and Magistrates courts. In addition, Islamic law is an important
source of Malaysian law, but it is applicable to Muslims only and is administered by a separate
system of courts.

The Federation Of Malaysia History

Formed from a series of British colonies known as British Malaya. Created in 1946, they were reorganised as the Federation of Malaya, which was recognised as an independent nation in 1957. Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and the Federation of Malaya then joined together to form Malaysia in September 1963.

Malaysia Online Legal Resources


  • Constitution ( In English.
  • Constitution (summary and history only). (Universität Bern Institut fĂĽr Ă–ffentliches Recht): In English.

Laws and Legislation

  • Acts Searchable database of full-text acts from 1990 to 2001. (Parliament of Malaysia).
  • Bills Searchable database of full-text bills from 1990 to 2001. (Parliament of Malaysia).
  • Laws of Malaysia ( Provides an alphabetical index to Malaysian laws in English and Malay, also has asubject index.  Can be used as a bibliographic tool because not full-text.
  • Laws and Acts of Parliament  (Malaysian Administrative Modernisation & Management Planning Unit): Links to laws on government websites.  List in English.

Laws by Subject



  • Journal Articles (Malaysian Law Journal/Lexis): In English.
  • Online Legal Resources ( Somewhat awkwardly organized, but does contain useful information.
  • Malaysia The Asian Development Bank provides a number of fact sheets, country reports, project summaries including legal initiatives and more. (Asian Development Bank).

Subscription Databases

  • Legal Network Malaysia (CLJ Legal Network): Complete legal database in English.  Includes free access to legal information, but full-text cases and acts only available to subscribers.

More Malaysian Law Websites

Malaysian Federal Sites

Note: We linked the resources to in an effort to decrease the number of broken links cited.

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