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Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: The Constitution

The Federal Constitution

The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of Malaysia. It was first enacted in 1957 as the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya. It has been amended multiple times.

For information about the Constitution, see for example:

Legal Systems in ASEAN: Malaysia (open access) from the ASEAN Law Association. See pages 12-16 of the History and Development of the Legal System for a brief overview of the history of the Constitution and its characteristics today.

'Is Malaysia an Islamic State?' by Tommy Thomas (open access on the Malaysian Bar council website) - this article provides a detailed analysis of the history and current features of the Constitution.

Halsbury's Laws of Malaysia on LexisNexis AU (UniMelb staff & student access). This includes an extensive chapter on the Federal Constitution, covering the following topics. This resource includes detailed commentary and links to cases on each topic. 

Books on Malaysian Constitutional Law

Finding the Federal Constitution

The Federal Constitution is available on open access on the official Attorney-General's Malaysian Laws portal. 

It is also available on the subscription database CLJ Law (UniMelb staff & student access - requires a separate password in addition to your UniMelb password. Get password here). This database has a lot of value added information on the Constitution, such as a list of all amendments, and links to amending Acts. It also links to cases on each Article of the Constitution (see Cases box on this page).

  • From the CLJ Home page, select the blue Browse button in the top menu and select Federal Acts from the dropdown menu.
  • Click on Federal Constitution on the Federal Acts page
  • In the lefthand menu are listed all Articles. Click on one to see the text of the Article.
  • At the top of the lefthand menu are links to all subsidiary legislation, amending Acts and details of all amendments.

Cases on the Constitution

Constitutional cases may be heard by the Federal Court in its original jurisdiction, or on appeal from lower courts. 

FINDING CASES ON A TOPIC

Halsbury's Laws of Malaysia on LexisNexis AU (UniMelb staff & student access) includes an extensive chapter on the Federal Constitution, arranged by topic. Each topic lists significant cases on point. Links are provided to cases on Lexis, such as the Malayan Law Journal Reports.

FINDING CASES ON A SPECIFIC ARTICLE OF THE CONSTITUTION

CLJ Law (UniMelb staff & student access - requires a separate password in addition to your UniMelb password. Get password here) provides cases on each Article. 

  • ​From the CLJ Home page, select the blue Browse button in the top menu and select Federal Acts from the dropdown menu.
  • Click on Federal Constitution on the Federal Acts page
  • In the lefthand menu are listed all Articles. Click on one to see the text of the Article. 
  • If there are any cases on this Article, there will be a blue 'Cases Referred' button at the top of the Article text pane, with a red number indicating the number of cases considering the provision.
  • Click on the blue button and the list of cases will appear.

Note: CLJ law will only cite and link to cases that are available within the CLJ Law reported and unreported cases databases, and Halsbury's will only cite and link to cases on Lexis. Therefore, to ensure you find all cases on your topic or Constitutional Article, use both Halsbury's and CLJ Law.