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Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: Legislation

Malaysian Legislation

Malaysian legislation consists of:

  1. The Federal Constitution (see the Malaysian Constitution page in this Guide)
  2. The Constitutions of each of the 13 States of Malaysia
  3. Federal Acts of Parliament
  4. State Acts (called Enactments and Ordinances)
  5. Subsidiary (delegated / subordinate) Legislation, including Royal Proclamations, Orders, Rules, Regulations and By-laws.

The distribution of law-making authority between the Federal and State Governments is contained in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, and is set out in a Federal List (List 1), State List (List 2) and a Concurrent List. The main subject areas of the Federal List (for which only the Federal government can make laws) are external affairs, defence, internal security, civil and criminal law, citizenship, finance, commerce and shipping industry, communications, education, health, labour, censorship, tourism and all matters relating to the Federal Territories. The State List (matters on which only the States can legislate) includes Islamic law, land, agriculture and forestry, and local government. The Concurrent List, under authority of both the Federal and State Governments, includes social welfare, public health, protection of wildlife, heritage, housing, culture, sports, and town and country planning. 

Making Federal Legislation

MAKING LAWS

Malaysia has a bicameral parliament consisting of an unelected upper house (the Dewan Negara / the Senate) and an elected lower house (the Dewan Rakyat /House of Representatives).

The Malaysian Bar's How is a Law Made by Parliament webpage is a useful summary of the passage of a bill through both Houses of Parliament.

PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD)

Online Hansards for the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara from the First Parliament (1959-64) to current are available on the Parliament website. They can be browsed by year / Parliament or searched. Note that Hansard is only available in Malay.

FINDING BILLS

Bills are available in English:

  • On the Dewan Rakyat (1990 to current) and Dewan Negara websites (1997 to current) (open access). Bills can be browsed by year or searched. Information provided includes basic Bill status information. All Bills can be downloaded as PDF files. Most of the Bills include the text of the Bill, the Explanatory Statement and any amendments to the Bill made in Committee. 
  • On CLJ Law (UniMelb Staff & Student access) from 2002 to current. From the Home Page:
    • use the blue Browse button on the top menu and select Federal Acts from the drop down menu. 
    • Select Bills from the top menu. Bills are listed by year. All Bills can be downloaded as PDF files. Most of the Bills include the text of the Bill, the Explanatory Statement and any amendments to the Bill made in Committee. 

 

GOVERNMENT GAZETTE

Laws as passed are published in the Official Government Gazette. Federal Laws cannot come into force until they are published in the Gazette (Article 66(5) of the Federal Constitution). Gazetted laws  are given a PU number (PU = Acts and Ordinances; PU(A) = Subordinate legislation: Royal Proclamations, Orders, Rules, Regulations and By-laws; and PU(B) = all other subordinate legislation).

The Federal Gazette also contains all Bills.

The Gazette is available in English on the e-Federal Gazette Official Portal. Laws can be searched by date of publication, PU number, title, and Act. The Gazette cannot be browsed.

 

 

Finding Federal Legislation in English

The Laws of Malaysia on the Attorney General's Official Portal (open access) contains the up to date official versions of Federal Acts (principal legislation), including amending, reprinted and repealed Acts, from Act 1 (the Revision of Laws Act 1968 (Reprint 2006)) to current. All Acts are sequentially numbered, irrespective of the year in which they were enacted. All principal laws of Malaysia enacted after 1969 and pre-1969 laws revised by the Commissioner of Law Revision are included.

  • Of the open access databases available, this database contains the most complete collection of Acts.
  • This database does not include subordinate legislation.
  • Warning note: while all Acts are listed and can be browsed or searched, not all are actually available in full text. Those that are available are hyperlinked. To find the full text of completely up to date Act compilations (including amendments), we recommend using CLJ Law (see below) - it is a more comprehensive and more reliable source of Acts.

CLJ Law (UniMelb staff & student access - requires a separate password in addition to your UniMelb password. Get password here) - includes all current and repealed principal and amending Federal Acts, and subsidiary legislation: Rules, Regulations, Orders, Notifications, Proclamations, Appointments, By-Laws, Statutes, Ordinances, Announcements and Revocations. Legislation can be searched or browsed.

  • To search:
    • from the Home Page, check the Legislation box and start to type the name of the legislation in to the Statute search box. The search will auto suggest as you type.

  • To browse:
    • From the Home Page, use the blue Browse button on the top menu and select Federal Acts from the drop down menu. 
    • You can then select Acts by title, Act number or topic.
    • You can also find Codes and subsidiary legislation listed on the Federal Acts page.

 

Finding State Legislation

State Laws, known as Enactments (or Ordinances in Sarawak) are published in the State Gazettes. State Gazettes and open access sources of State laws are difficult to find. We recommend using CLJ Law (UniMelb staff & student access - requires a separate password in addition to your UniMelb password. Get password here) which includes a comprehensive database of State laws, including current and repealed principal and amending State Acts, and subsidiary legislation. Legislation can be searched or browsed.

  • To search:
    • from the Home Page, check the Legislation box and start to type the name of the legislation in to the Statute search box. The search will auto suggest as you type.

  • To browse:
    • From the Home Page, use the blue Browse button on the top menu and select State Enactments from the drop down menu. 
    • Select a State. You can then add information such as type of enactment (Act, amending Act, Notification, Rule etc), Act number, language, Syaria laws. Or simply click Go after selecting the State, and all primary, amending, and subsidiary legislation will be listed.
    • This page can be sorted by Type, Act Number, Act Title, Principal Act, and In Force date.

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