The Government of Malaysia is one of
Constitutional monarchy and Parliamentary democracy.
The Parliament of Malaysia is the national legislature of Malaysia,
based on the English Westminster system of Parliament. It consists of
the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives or literally People's Hall,
in Malay) and the Dewan Negara (National Hall in Malay; commonly
referred to as the Senate).
Members of the Dewan Rakyat are known as
members of Parliament (MPs) while members of the Dewan Negara are called
A general election is held every four or five years to elect
representatives to the Dewan Rakyat; members of the Dewan Negara, like
those of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, are appointed. Members
of Parliament are commonly referred to as MPs.
Malaysia is a confederation of 13 states plus the Federal capital of Kuala
Lumpur and the Federal district of Labuan. Nine of the peninsular states
have Sultans and every five years an election is held by the royalties to
determine, on a rotation basis, which one will become the
'Yang DiPertuan Agong', or King of Malaysia.
states of Sabah and Sarawak in east Malaysia are slightly different
since they were separate colonies, not parts of Malaya, prior to
Independence. They retain a
greater degree of local administrative autonomy than the peninsular
Politics of Malaysia takes place in a
framework of a federal parliamentary monarchy, whereby the Prime
Minister of Malaysia is the head of government, and of a multi-party
system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal
legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers
of parliament, the Senate (Dewan Negara) and the House of
Representatives (Dewan Rakyat). Since independence, politics has been
dominated by the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition led by the
United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
The political system is a federal
one, with each state having its own legislature, but power is
concentrated in the national government.
General elections are held every five years. The Barisan National, which is a coalition of various political parties with the
main party being UMNO, continues to rule the government.
Malaysia's predominant political party,
the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), has held power in
coalition with other parties since Malaya's independence. This coalition
called Barisan Nasional is composed of 14 parties which includes the
three prominent members the UMNO, MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association)
and MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress). The Prime Minister of Malaysia has
always been from UMNO.
The political process in Malaysia has generally been described as taking
the form of "consociationalism" whereby "communal interests are resolved
in the framework
of a grand coalition"
This however is slowly changing, as government policies have grown
increasingly racist with minority interests being sidelined. The recent
elections having denied the ruling coalition of its two thirds majority
have shown the people dissatisfaction with increasing abuse of power and
corrupting and a drift away from communal and racial politics.
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