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Information about MALAYSIAN LEGAL SYSTEM Sources of law LEGISLATION Part 2

Published on March 1, 2014

Author: xareejx


   Bill: a law in draft; becomes law after following certain procedures.

   Private Bill: Initiated by an individual e.g. NGOs, or any private citizen (people who have no locus in Parliament). E.g. the Sexual Harassment Bill, introduced by NGO (AWAM).

   Hybrid Bill: Introduced either by Ministers or private individuals. Prejudicially affects individual rights or interests (affects a certain group of people in a society).

    Public Bill: Introduced by Ministers. Relates to matters of government policy and having a general application over the entire nations. The most common type of Bill in Malaysia.

   Pre-Parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure Post Parliamentary procedure

    Drafting of the Bill If proposed by the government, the Bill will be drafted by the Drafting Division, AttorneyGeneral’s Chambers. Bill is taken to Parliament by the Minister concerned to fix the date for First Reading. Clerk of the House will fix date for First Reading.

     The Bill will undergo these stages: First Reading Second reading Committee Stage Third Reading

     Introduce the Bill to members of the House. Minister will read out the short title of the Bill. The Bill would be circulated. Everyone gets a copy. (To give notice that the Bill will be debated later during Second Reading). The Bill will be gazetted (made known to the public). Parliament sets date for Second Reading.

    The most crucial stage. The Bill will be discussed extensively. At the end of the discussion, members will be required to vote in favour of, or against the Bill. Once the required votes are obtained, the Bill shall move to the next stage (i.e. the Committee Stage).  Vote: simple 2/3 majority of the members present for Ordinary Bills. If 2/3 majority is not obtained, the Bill is rejected.  Votes to amend the Constitution: Article 159(3) FC requires 2/3 majority of all members of both Houses. All must be present.

   The Bill is discussed in an informal manner. Members of the House become the members of the Committee. The House may also appoint an ad hoc committee to discuss the Bill (usually when it involves technical matters).

    The final stage before the Bill is deemed passed by that House. Usually does not involve much debate. Members are invited to vote for or against the Bill once again. Once the required votes are obtained, the Bill is considered/deemed passed by that House.

     The Bill will be forwarded to the Senate where a similar procedure will be followed. The Senate has no power to reject the Bill. But the Senate may delay sending the Bill back to the House of Representative. It is possible to bypass the Senate but there is a waiting period. (Waiting period for Money Bill is 1 month; other Bills 12 months)

  Royal Assent The Bill will be presented to the YPDA for Royal Assent by affixing the public seal. Article 66(4) FC: “The YDPA shall within thirty days after a Bill is presented to him assent to the Bill by causing the Public Seal to be affixed thereto.” 

 What happens if a Bill is not assented to? Article 66 (4A): “If a Bill is not assented to by the YDPA within the time specified in Clause (4), it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he had assented thereto.” 

 Article 66 (5): “A Bill shall become law on being assented to by the YDPA or as provided in Clause (4a), but no law shall come into force until it has been published…”

 A Bill does not come into force until it has been gazetted.  All law must be gazetted in accordance with section 18 of the Interpretation Acts 1948 & 1967.

 Section 19 Interpretation Acts 1948 & 1967: “The commencement of an Act…shall be the date provided in or under the Act…or, where no date is so provided, the date immediately following the date of its publication”.

Article 66 (5): “A Bill shall become law on being assented to by the YDPA or as provided in Clause (4A), but no law shall come into force until it has been published, without prejudice, however, to the power of parliament to postpone the operation of any law or to make laws with retrospective effect.” 

  Power of Parliament to postpone the operation of the law or to make laws with retrospective effect. Parliament can specify that the law is to take effect at a later date even though it is published today (for example).  E.g. Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 came into force on 1 March 1982.  Laws with retrospective effect e.g. law is gazetted today but implemented 1st January 2013.

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