Explain the composition, powers and functions of the House of Representative in Malaysia.

(1) Introduction

Constitution of Malaysia provides a constitutional structure of the Malaysian Federation. In this constitutional structure, the legislative authority of the Federation is vested in a Parliament. Therefore, the Malaysian Parliament is the Legislature of the state. The structure of this Parliament is bicameral; it consists of two houses. Senate is its upper house while House of Representatives is its lower house.

(2) Composition Of House of Representatives.

Article 46 of the Malaysian Constitution describes the composition of the house of representative:

  • (i) Total Members
  • (ii) Members From States
  • (iii) Members from states Members from Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya

(i) Total Members

The House of Representatives consists of two hundred and twenty-two elected members.

(ii) Members From States

Its two hundred and nine members are from the states:

  • (a) Johore
  • (b) Kedah
  • (c) Kelantan
  • (d) Malacca
  • (e) Negeri Sembilan
  • (f) Pahang
  • (g) Penang
  • (h) Perak
  • (j) Perlis
  • (k) Sabah
  • (l) Sarawak
  • (m) Selangor
  • (n) Terengganu

(a) Johore

Its twenty members are from Johore.

(b) Kedah

Its fifteen members are from Kedah.

(c) Kelantan

Its fourteen members are from Kelantan.

(d) Malacca

Its six members are from Malacca.

(e) Negeri Sembilan

Its eight members are from Negeri Sembilan.

(f) Pahang

Its fourteen members are from Pahang.

(g) Penang

Its thirteen members are from Penang.

(h) Perak

Its twenty-four members are from Perak.

(j) Perlis

Its three members are from Perlis.

(k) Sabah

Its twenty-five members are from Sabah.

(l) Sarawak

Its thirty-one members are from Sarawak.

(m) Selangor

Its twenty-two members are from Selangor.

(n) Terengganu

Its eight members are from Terengganu.

(iii) Members From Federal Territories Of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya

Its thirteen members are from the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya:

  • (a) Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
  • (b) Federal Territory of Labuan
  • (c) Federal Territory of Putrajaya

(a) Federal Territory Of Kuala Lumpur

Its eleven members are from the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

(b) Federal Territory Of Labuan

Its one member from is the Federal Territory of Labuan.

(c) Federal Territory of Putrajaya

Its one member is from the Federal Territory of Putrajaya.

(3) Powers & Functions Of House of Representatives

Followings are powers and functions of the House of Representatives:

  • (i) Speaker & deputy speakers
  • (ii) Prime Minister
  • (iii) Political forum
  • (iv) Prime source of legislation
  • (v) Policies & administration
  • (vi) Power to override Senate
  • (vii) Power to regulate procedure
  • (viii) Penalization of members
  • (ix) Immunity from civil & criminal proceedings

(i) Speaker & Deputy Speakers

According to Article 57, the House of Representatives is to elect its speaker and two deputy speakers.

(ii) Prime Minister

According to Article 43, the King appoints a nember of the House of Representatives as Prime Minister. Usually, such member is that who holds confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives.

(iii) Political Forum

The House of Representatives works a political forum to discuss matters of public interest. In fact, it works as a forum of criticism to focus upon the public opinion regarding national issues.

(iv) Prime Source Of Legislation

It also works as prime source of legislation:

  • (a) Legislation
  • (b) Creation, amendment or annulment of laws
  • (c) Creation of new or additional taxes or annulment of taxes

(a) Legislation

It does legislation; any bill can originate from it. However, money bill originates only from this house.

(b) Creation, Amendment Or Annulment Of Laws

Along with Senate and the King, it possesses power to create new laws, and amend or annul existing laws.

(c) Creation Of New Or Additional Taxes Or Annulment of Taxes

It can create new or additional taxes or can annul any tax.

(v) Policies & Administration

It scrutinizes and examines policies of government and administration.

(vi) Power To Override Senate

It has power to override the Senate as far as legislation is concerned:

  • (a) Money bill
  • (b) Non-money bill

(a) Money Bill

In the following way, it overrides the Senate in case of money bill:

  • (a-i) Passing of money bill by House of Representatives
  • (a-ii) Sending of money bill to Senate
  • (a-iii) Senate must not pass money bill
  • (a-iv) Sending of money bill to the King

(a-i) Passing Of Money Bill By House of Representatives

The House of Representatives must have passed the money bill.

(a-ii) Sending Of Money Bill To Senate

The money bill must have been sent to the Senate.

(a-iii) Senate Must Not Pass Money Bill

The Senate must not pass the money bill without amendment within a month.

(a-iv) Sending Of Money Bill To The King

In such circumstances, the money bill shall be sent to the King for his assent.

(b) Non-Money Bill

In the following way, it overrides the Senate in case of non-money bill:

  • (b-i) Passing of non-money bill by House of Representatives
  • (b-ii) Sending of non-money bill to Senate
  • (b-iii) Senate must not pass non-money bill or must have passed non-money bill
  • (b-iv) Passing of non-money bill again by House of Representatives
  • (b-v) Sending of non-money bill again to Senate
  • (b-vi) Sending of non-money bill to the King

(b-i) Passing Of Non-Money Bill By House Of Representatives

The House of Representatives must have passed the non-money bill.

(b-ii) Sending Of Non-Money Bill To Senate

The non-money bill must have been sent to the Senate at least one month before the end of the session.

(b-iii) Senate Must Not Pass Non-Money Bill Or Must Have Passed Non-Money Bill

The Senate must not pass the non-money bill or must have passed it with amendments to which the House of Representatives have not agreed.

(b-iv) Passing Of Non-Money Bill Again By House Of Representatives

The House of Representative must have passed the non-money bill in the following session but not earlier than one year after it has the bill.

(b-v) Sending Of Non-Money Bill Again To Senate

The non-money bill must have been sent to the Senate at least one month before the end of the session and the Senate must not have passed it or must have passed it with amendments to which the House of Representatives have not agreed.

(b-vi) Sending Of Non-Money Bill To the King

In such circumstances, the non-money bill shall be presented to the King for his assent.

(vii) Power To Regulate Procedure

It is empowered to regulate its own procedure; it has exclusive control over its own proceedings, and validity of its proceedings cannot be questioned in any court.

(viii) Penalization Of Members

It can penalize its members for breaches of the privilege or its contempt.

(ix) Immunity From Civil & Criminal Proceedings

Its members enjoy immunity from civil and criminal proceedings in respect of things, which they say or do in parliamentary proceedings.

(4) Conclusion

It can be finally stated that Malaysian Parliament is bicameral legislature. Along with the King, its both houses are to legislate. Either of its houses or the King cannot alone legislate. It reveals that there is no concentration of powers as far as legislation is concerned. Therefore it can be stated that doctrine of separation of powers is present in the Malaysian constitutional system.

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