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Constitution of Malaysia (1957) – 12: General and Miscellaneous

PART XII – GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS

Article 152

(1) The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law* provide: Provided that-

(a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes), or from teaching or learning, any other language; and

(b) nothing in this Clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Clause (1), for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, the English language may be used in both Houses of Parliament, in the Legislative Assembly of every State, and for all other official purposes.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of Clause (1), for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, the authoritative texts-

(a) of all Bills to be introduced or amendments thereto to be moved in either House of Parliament, and

(b) of all Acts of Parliament and all subsidiary legislation issued by the Federal Government, shall be in the English language.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of Clause (1), for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, all proceedings in the Supreme Court or a High Court shall be in the English language:

Provided that, it the Court and counsel on both sides agree, evidence taken in language spoken by the witness need not be translated into or recorded in English.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of Clause (1), until Parliament otherwise provides, all proceedings in subordinate courts, other than the taking of evidence, shall be in the English language.

(6) In this Article, “official purpose” means any purpose of the Government, whether Federal or State, and includes any purpose of a public authority.

Article 153

(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, but subject to the provisions of Article 40 and of this Article, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special provision of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.

(3) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, in order to ensure in accordance with Clause (2) the reservation to Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of positions in the public service and of scholarships, exhibitions and other educational or training privileges or special facilities, give such general directions as may be required for that purpose to any Commission to which Part X applies or to any authority charged with responsibility for the grant of such scholarships, exhibitions or other educational or training privileges or special facilities; and the Commission or authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(4) In exercising his functions under this Constitution and federal law in accordance with Clauses (1) to (3) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall not deprive any person of any public office held by him or of the continuance of any scholarship, exhibition or other educational or training privileges or special facilities enjoyed by him.

(5) This Article does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136.

(6) Where by existing federal law a permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may exercise his functions under that law in such manner, or give such general directions to any authority charged under that law with the grant of such permits or licences, as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di- Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(7) Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him or to authorised a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of a person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

(8) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where by any federal law any permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business, that law may provide for the reservation of a proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; but no such law shall for the purpose of ensuring such a reservation -

(a) deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him;

(b) authorise a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with he other provisions of the law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events, or prevent any person from transferring together with his business any transferable licence to operate that business; or

(c) where no permit or licence was previously required for the operation of the trade or business, authorise a refusal to grant a permit or licence to any person for the operation of any trade or business which immediately before the coming into force of the law he had been bona fide carrying on, or authorise a refusal subsequently to renew to any such person any permit or licence, or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any such person any such permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with the other provisions of that law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

(8A) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where in any University, College and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the University, College or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di- Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yank di- Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(9) Noting in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

(9A) In this Article the expression “natives” in relation to the State of Sabah or Sarawak shall have the meaning assigned to it in Article 161A.

(10) The Constitution of the State of any Ruler may make provision corresponding (with the necessary modifications) to the provisions of this Article.

Article number: 154

(1) Until Parliament otherwise determines, the municipality of Kuala Lumpur shall be the federal capital.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in Part VI, Parliament shall have exclusive power to make laws with respect to the boundaries of the federal capital.

(3) (Repealed).

Article 155

(1) Where the law in force in any other part of the Commonwealth confers upon citizens of the Federation any fight or privilege it shall be lawful, notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, for Parliament to confer a similar right or privilege upon citizens of that part of the Commonwealth who are not citizens of the Federation.

(2) The reference in Clause (1) to citizens of a part of the Commonwealth shall be construed, in relation to the United Kingdom or to any other part of the Commonwealth not being a Commonwealth country or a territory administered by the Government of a Commonwealth country other than the United Kingdom, as a reference to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

(3) This Article applies in relation to the Republic of Ireland as it applies in relation to a Commonwealth country.

Article 156

Where lands, buildings, or hereditaments are occupied for public purposes by or on behalf of the Federation, a State or a public authority, the Federation, State of public authority shall be liable to pay local rates in respect thereof but shall in aid of those rates make such contributions in respect thereof as may be agreed between the Federation, State of public authority. as the case may be, and the authority levying the rates or as may in default of agreement be determined by a tribunal consisting of the chairman of the Lands Tribunal established under Article 87, who shall preside, and two other members of whom each of the parties concerned shall appoint one.

Article 157

Subject to any provisions of State Law, arrangements may be made between any two States for the performance of any functions by the authorities of the one on behalf of the authorities of the other, and such arrangements may provide for the making of payments in respect of any costs incurred under the arrangements.

Article 158

(1) Nothing in this Constitution shall be taken to prohibit the making or continuance of arrangements whereby-

(a) departments, authorities or services are maintained by the Federal Government in common with the Government of Brunei; or

(b) the Federal Government or any officer or authority thereof acts as agent for the Government of Brunei; or

(c) any part of the executive authority of the Federation is exercised, with the consent of the Federal Government, by any officer or authority of the Government of Brunei.

(2) (Repealed).

Article 159

(1) Subject tot he following provisions of this Article and to Article 161E the provisions of this Constitution may be amended by federal law.

(2) (Repealed).

(3) A Bill for making any amendment to the Constitution (other than an amendment excepted from the provisions of this Clause) and a Bill for making any amendment to a law passed under Clause (4) of Article 10 shall not be passed in either House of Parliament unless it has been supported on Second and Third Readings by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total number of member of that House.

(4) The following amendments are excepted from the provisions of Clause (3), that is to say:

(a) any amendment to Part III of the Second or to the Sixth or Seventh Schedule;

(b) any amendment incidental to or consequential on the exercise of any power to make law conferred on Parliament by any provision of this Constitution other than Articles 74 and 76;

(bb) Subject to Article 161E any amendment made for or in connection with the admission of any State to the Federation or its association with the States thereof, or any modification made as to the application of this Constitution to a State previously so admitted or associated;

(c) any amendment consequential on an amendment made under paragraph (a).

(5) A law making an amendment to Clause (4) of Article 10, any law passed thereunder, the provisions of Part III, Article 38, 63 (4), 70, 71 (1), 72 (4), 152, or 153 or to this Clause shall not be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

(6) In this Article “amendment” includes addition and repeal; and in this Article and in Article 2(a) “State” includes any territory.

Article 159A

The provisions of Part IV of the Malaysia Act* (which contains temporary and transitional provisions in connection with the operation of that Act) shall have effect as if embodied in this Constitution, and shall have effect notwithstanding anything in this Constitution as amended by that Act; and the provisions of this Constitution, and in particular Clause (1) of Article 4 and Articles 159 and 161E shall have effect in relation thereto accordingly.

Article 160

(1) The Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance, 1948, as in force immediately before Merdeka Day shall, to the extent specified in the Eleventh Schedule, apply for the interpretation of this Constitution as it applies for the interpretation of any written law within the meaning of that Ordinance, but with the substitution of references to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for references to the High Commissioner.

(2) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say -

  • “Aborigine” means an aborigine of the Malay Peninsula;
  • “Act of Parliament” means a law made by Parliament;
  • “Attorney General” means the Attorney General of the Federation;
  • “Borrow” includes the raising of money by the grant of annuities or by entering into any arrangement requiring the payment before the due date of any taxes, rates, royalties, fees or any other payments or by entering into any agreement whereby the Government has to repay or refund any benefits that is has enjoyed under that agreement, and “loan” shall be construed accordingly;
  • “Casual vacancy” means a vacancy arising in the House of Representatives or a Legislative Assembly otherwise than by a dissolution of Parliament or of the Assembly;
  • “Chief Minister” and “Menteri Besar” both mean the president, by whatever style known, of the Executive Council in a State;
  • “Citizen” means a citizen of the Federation;
  • “Civil List” means the provision made for the maintenance of the Yang di- Pertua Agong, his Consort, a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri out of public funds;
  • “Commonwealth country” means any country recognised by the Yang di- Pertuan Agong to be a Commonwealth country; and “part of the Commonwealth” means any Commonwealth country, any colony, protectorate or protected state or any other territory administered by the Government of any Commonwealth country;
  • “Concurrent List” means the Third List set out in the Ninth Schedule;
  • “Debt” includes any liability in respect of any obligation to repay capital sums by way of annuities and any liability under any guarantee, and “debt charges” shall be construed accordingly;
  • “Elector” means a person who is entitled to vote in an election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly of a State;
  • “Enactment”, where the expression occurs in the Eighth Schedule, means a law made by the Legislature of a State;
  • “Executive Council” means the Cabinet or other body, however called, which in the Government of a State corresponds, whether or not the members of it are Ministers, to the Cabinet of Ministers in the Government of the Federation (and in particular includes the Supreme Council in Sarawak);
  • “Existing law” means any law in operation in the Federation or any part thereof immediately before Merdeka Day;
  • “Federal law” means -
    • (a) any existing law relating to a matter with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws, being a law continued in operation under Part XIII, and
    • (b) any Act of Parliament;
  • “Federal List” means the First list set out in the Ninth Schedule;
  • “Federal purposes” includes the purposes of the Federation in connection with matters enumerated in the Concurrent List and with any other matters with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws otherwise than by virtue of Article 76;
  • “Foreign country” does not include any part of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland;
  • “Governor” (Repealed).
  • “Law” includes written law, the common law in so far as it is in operation in the Federation or any part thereof, and any custom or usage having the force of law in the Federation or any part thereof;
  • “Legislative Assembly” means the representatives assembly, however called, in the Legislature of a State (and in particular includes the Council Negri in Sarawak), but except in the Eighth Schedule includes also a Legislative Council, however called;
  • “Legislative Council” (Repealed);
  • “Legislature”, in relation to a State, means the authority having power under the Constitution of that State to make laws for the State;
  • “Local rates” (Repealed);
  • “Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and -
    • (a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
    • (b) is the issue of such a person;
  • “Member of the administration” means, in relation to the Federation, a person holding office as Minister, Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Secretary or Political Secretary and, in relation to a State, a person holding a corresponding office in the State or holding office as member (other than an official member) of the Executive Council;
  • “Merdeka Day” means the thirty-first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty-seven;
  • “Office of profit” means any whole time office in any of the public services, and includes -
    • (a) the office of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court; and
    • (b) the office of Auditor General; and
    • (c) the office of a member of the Election Commission, of a member (other than an ex officio member) of a Commission to which Part X applies, or of a member (other that an ex officio member) of any corresponding Commission established by the Constitution of a State; and
    • (d) any other office not specified in Clause (3) of Article 132 which may be declared by Act of Parliament to be an office of profit;
  • “Pension rights” includes a superannuation rights and provident fund rights;
  • “Public authority” means the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Ruler or Yang di-Pertuan Negeri of a State, the Federal Government, the Government of a State, a local authority, a statutory authority exercising powers vested in it by federal or State law, any court or tribunal other than the Supreme Court and High Courts, or any officer or authority appointed by or acting on behalf of any of those person, courts, tribunals or authorities;
  • “Remuneration” includes salary or wages, allowances, pension rights, free or subsidised housing, free or subsidised transport, and other privileges capable of being valued in money;
  • “Rule Committee” (Repealed);
  • “Ruler” -
    • (a) in relation to Negeri Sembilan, means the Yang di-Pertuan Besar acting on behalf of himself and the Ruling Chiefs in accordance with the Constitution of that State; and
    • (b) in the case of any State, includes, except in Article 181 (2) and the Third and Fifth Schedules, any person who in accordance with the Constitution of that State exercises the functions of the Ruler;
  • “State” means a State of the Federation
  • “State law” means -
    • (a) any existing law relating to a matter with respect to which the Legislature of a State has power to make law, being a law continued in operation under Part XIII; and
    • (b) a law made by the Legislature of a State;
  • “State List” means the Second List set out in the Ninth Schedule;
  • “State purposes” includes, in relation to any State, the purposes of the State in connection with matters enumerated in the Concurrent List and with any other matters with respect to which the Legislature of the State has power to make laws;
  • “Tax” includes am impost or a duty but does not include a rate levied for local purposes or a fee for services rendered;
  • “The Federation” means the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957;
  • “Written law” includes this Constitution and the Constitution of any State;
  • “Yang di-Pertuan Negeri” means the Head of State in a State not having a Ruler.

(3) Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in this Constitution to a specified Part, Article or Schedule is a reference to that Part or Article of, or that Schedule to, this Constitution, any reference to a specified chapter, clause, section or paragraph is a reference to that chapter of the Part, that clause of the Article, that section of the Schedule, or that paragraph of that clause or section, in which the reference occurs; and any reference to a group of Articles, sections or divisions of Articles or sections shall be construed as including both the first and the last member of the group referred to.

(4) Where under this Constitution a person is required to take and subscribe an oath, he shall be permitted, if he so desires, to comply with that requirement by making and subscribing an affirmation.

(5) References in this Constitution to the Federation and its States and to the territories of the Federation or any of its States, and to any officer holding office under the Federation or any authority or body in or for the Federation shall be construed -

(a) in relation to any time after the coming into operation of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, and before Merdeka Day, as references to the Federation established under that Agreement, and the States and Settlements comprising it and to the territories of that Federation or any of the States and Settlements comprising it, and to the corresponding office holding office thereunder or the corresponding authority or body in or for that Federation;

(b) in relation to any time before the coming into operation of the said Agreement (so far as the context admits) as references to such of the countries, territories, offices, authorities or bodies for the construction of references to which provision was made by Clause 135 (2) of the said Agreement, as may be appropriate.

(6) References in this Constitution to any period shall be construed, so far as the context admits, as including references to a period beginning before Merdeka Day.

(7) References in this Constitution to the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, shall be construed, except where the context otherwise require, as references to that Agreement as in force immediately before Merdeka Day.

Next: Chapter 13 – Additional Protections for States of Sabah and Sarawak