The politics of Malaysia takes place in the framework of a federal representative democratic constitutional monarchy, in which the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is head of state and the Prime Minister of Malaysia is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the federal government and the 13 state governments. Federal legislative power is vested in the federal parliament and the 13 state assemblies. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, though the executive maintains a certain level of influence in the appointment of judges to the courts. Malaysia has a multi-party system since the first direct election of the Federal Legislative Council of Malaya in 1955 on a first-past-the-post basis. The ruling party since then has always been the Alliance Party coalition and subsequently from 1973 onwards, its successor the Barisan Nasional(National Front) coalition. The Barisan Nasional coalition currently consists of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association(MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and 11 other political parties. Facts about Malaysia’s political history:
– Malaya, the 11 states in the Malay Peninsula that formed the southern-most tip of mainland Asia, gained independence from Britain on August 31, 1957. It was then a leading producer of commodities such as tin and rubber. – Led by the Tunku Abdul Rahman, an affable prince from Kedah state, Malaya prospered. It merged with the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia on September 16, 1963. TURBULENT SIXTIES:
– Politics and a personality clash between Tunku Abdul Rahman and Singapore’s then leader, Lee Kuan Yew, saw the island state separate from Malaysia in August 1965. – Tunku Abdul Rahman’s ruling Alliance coalition suffered major setbacks in the May 12, 1969 COALITION CONSOLIDATES POWER:
– Abdul Razak expanded the original Alliance coalition of three parties to include others such as the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) to contest the 1974 general elections. – The new-look coalition, known as the Barisan Nasional, won, and Abdul Razak embarked on an agricultural drive, emphasizing oil palm estates. – Abdul Razak died of leukemia while still in office in January 1976. His deputy, Hussein Onn, became Malaysia’s third prime minister. – PAS left the expanded coalition as Hussein’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) made inroads into Kelantan, its stronghold state. The National Front trounced PAS in Kelantan in the 1978 elections, but PAS regained control of the state in 1990. THE RISE OF MAHATHIR:
– Hussein resigned for health reasons in July 1981 and his deputy, Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister. – During Mahathir’s 22-year term, the longest by a Malaysian prime minister, he modernized the commodities-dependent economy that he inherited with industries ranging from electronics to vehicle manufacturing. He also built extensive infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports and the world’s tallest twin towers, the Petronas Twin Towers. NOW:
The current Prime Minister is Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak. He took office following the retirement of Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on April, 2009.