Political Conditions in Malaysia
- Type of State
- Federal state with constitutional elective monarchy. 13 states which enjoy a fair amount of federal decentralization.
- Executive Power
- The head of state is the Paramount Ruler, commonly referred to as the King. The King is selected from nine hereditary rulers (called Sultans) of the Malay states to serve a five-year term; the other four states (which have titular Governors) do not participate in the selection. Following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins most seats in the lower house of the parliament becomes the Prime Minister to serve a five-year term, subject to approval by the King. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law and running the day-to-day affairs of the country . The Cabinet is appointed by the Prime minister from among the members of parliament with the consent of the Paramount Ruler.
- Legislative Power
- The legislature in Malaysia is bicameral. The parliament consists of: the Senate (the upper house) having 69 seats, out of which 43 appointed by the Paramount Ruler and 26 appointed by the 13 state assemblies to serve six-year terms; and the House of Representatives (the lower house) having 219 seats. Its members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The King can dissolve parliament if he wishes but usually only does so upon the advice of the Prime Minister. In general, more power is vested in the executive branch of government than in the legislative. The legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. Each state has its own government, a cabinet with executive authority, and a legislature that deals with matters not reserved for the federal parliament. The people of Malaysia have limited political rights.
- Main Political Parties
Malaysia is a country with one dominant party. The UMNO (National Organization for a United Malaysia) is the largest political party in the country. It has ruled the country uninterruptedly since its independence from the UK in 1957. UMNO is known for being a major proponent of Malaysian nationalism and Islamic ideology. UMNO rules the country through a coalition called BN (National Front); its other two prominent members are:
- MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) – a party of Chinese who are citizens or long-term residents of Malaysia;
- MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) – representing the Indian community in Malaysia;
- Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.
- Current Political Leaders
Paramount Ruler: Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin (since 13 December 2006)
Prime Minister: Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (since April 2009) – UMNO, heading the BN coalition government
- Next Election Dates
- Paramount Ruler: December 2011
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 1 place up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Partly Free
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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