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Constitutional conflicts in contemporary Malaysia by HP Lee

By HP Lee

This publication explores how the separation of powers doctrine in Malaysia has been adversely stricken by a couple of significant constitutional conflicts one of the a number of very important organs of presidency. It concludes with the author's concepts at the trajectory of constitutional improvement in Malaysia.


This booklet explores how the separation of powers doctrine in Malaysia has been adversely stricken by a few significant constitutional conflicts one of the a number of vital organs of presidency. It Read more...

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6 Great Britain, Malayan Union and Singapore: Statement of Policy on Future Constitution (Cmd 6724, 1946) 3. The British Government expressed that for the time being, the distinct social and economic interests of Singapore warranted a separate government. Also see B Simandjuntak, Malayan Federalism 1945–​63: A Study of Federal Problems in a Plural Society (OUP 1969) 40. 7 ibid (n 6) 41. 7 Constitutional History and Political Developments 7 to the Malayan Union was the feeling of insecurity that had arisen from the proposed creation of a common citizenship.

5 North Borneo and Sarawak existed as protected states in Borneo, whilst Brunei remained a sultanate receiving British protection. Japanese forces invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941 and shortly thereafter, the British army surrendered in Singapore on 15 February 1942. From 1942 to 1945, the Malay Peninsula and Singapore came under Japanese occupation. The end of the Second World War saw the return of British rule and the disbanding of the Straits Settlements. Penang and Malacca were grouped together with the Malay States in 1946, under a new political body called the Malayan Union.

Political disputes at the state level engendered conflicts between the Federal government and some State governments. In 1977, the Federal government, under Tun Hussein Onn, invoked emergency powers under Article 150 of the Constitution to deal with a political crisis in Kelantan. The Emergency Powers (Kelantan) Act 1977 was enacted to extend Federal executive authority to Kelantan ‘in respect of matters which are now within the executive authority of the State of Kelantan’. ‘Legislative authority of the State of Kelantan in respect of all matters which are now within the legislative authority of the State of Kelantan’ was conferred upon the Ruler of the State of Kelantan, to the exclusion of the Legislative Assembly of that state.

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