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Malaysia
Introduction | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Communication | Transportation | Military

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Government

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Malaysia
former: Malayan Union

Data code: MY

Government type: constitutional monarchy
note: Malaya (what is now Peninsular Malaysia) formed 31 August 1957; Federation of Malaysia (Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore) formed 9 July 1963 (Singapore left the federation on 9 August 1965); nominally headed by the paramount ruler and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house; Peninsular Malaysian states - hereditary rulers in all but Melaka, Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak, where governors are appointed by the Malaysian Government; powers of state governments are limited by the federal constitution; under terms of the federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., the right to maintain their own immigration controls); Sabah - holds 20 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government; Sarawak - holds 28 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government

Capital: Kuala Lumpur

Administrative divisions: 13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri) and 2 federal territories* (wilayah-wilayah persekutuan, singular - wilayah persekutuan); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Labuan*, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu, Wilayah Persekutuan*
note: the city of Kuala Lumpur is located within the federal territory of Wilayah Persekutuan; the terms therefore are not interchangeable

Independence: 31 August 1957 (from UK)

National holiday: National Day, 31 August (1957)

Constitution: 31 August 1957, amended 16 September 1963

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of supreme head of the federation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Paramount Ruler Sultan TUNKU SALAHUDDIN Abdul Aziz Shah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Hisammuddin Alam Shah (since 26 April 1999); Deputy Paramount Ruler Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin ibni A-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (since 16 July 1981); Deputy Prime Minister ABDULLAH bin Ahmad Badawi (since 8 January 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the paramount ruler
elections: paramount ruler and deputy paramount ruler elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms; election last held 27 February 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins a plurality of seats in the House of Representatives becomes prime minister
election results: Sultan TUNKU SALAHUDDIN Abdul Aziz Shah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Hisammuddin Alam Shah elected paramount ruler; Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin ibni A-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah elected deputy paramount ruler

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlimen consists of nonelected Senate or Dewan Negara (69 seats; 43 appointed by the paramount ruler, 26 appointed by the state legislatures) and the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (193 seats; members elected by popular vote weighted toward the rural Malay population to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 29 November 1999 (next to be held 3 November 2004)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NF 56%, other 44%; seats by party - NF 148, PAS 27, DAP 10, NJP 5, PBS 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the paramount ruler on the advice of the prime minister

Political parties and leaders: State Reform Party or STAR [PATAV Rubis]; Democratic Action Party or DAP [LIM Kit Siang]; Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia [LIM Keng Yaik]; Liberal Democratic Party [leader NA]; Malaysian Chinese Association or MCA [LING Liong Sik]; Malaysian Indian Congress or MIC [S. Samy VELLU]; National Front or NF [MAHATHIR bin Mohamad] (a coalition of 14 political parties, dominated by the UMNO, and including the UPKO, SAPP, and the Liberal Democratic Party); National Justice Party or NJP [WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail]; Parti Akar [Datuk PANDIKAR Amin Mulia]; Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak or PBDS [Datuk Leo MOGGIE]; Parti Bersekutu [HARRIS Salleh]; Parti Islam SeMalaysia or PAS [Ustaz Fadzil Mohamed NOOR]; Party Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu or PBB [Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul TAIB Mahmud]; Sabah People's Progressive Party or SAPP [YONG Teck Lee]; Sabah People's United Party (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah) or PBRS [Datuk Joseph KURUP]; Sarawak National Party or SNAP [Datuk Amar James WONG]; Sarawak United People's Party or SUPP [Datuk Dr. George CHAN Hong Nam]; United Kadazan People's Organization or UPKO (formerly Parti Demokratik Sabah) [Bernard DOMPOK]; United Malays National Organization or UMNO [OSU Sukam]; United Sabah Party (main opposition party) (Parti Bersatu Sabah) or PBS [Dr. Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan]
note: subsequent to the election, the following parties were dissolved - Spirit of '46 or Semangat '46 [Tengku Tan Sri RAZALEIGH, president] and Sabah United Party (Parti Bersatu Sabah) or PBS [Datuk Seri Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan]

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTAET, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dato' GHAZZALI Sheikh Abdul Khalid
chancery: 2401 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2700
FAX: [1] (202) 483-7661
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador B. Lynn PASCOE
embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
mailing address: P. O. Box No. 10035, 50700 Kuala Lumpur; American Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152
telephone: [60] (3) 2168-5000
FAX: [60] (3) 242-2207

Flag description: 14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow fourteen-pointed star; the crescent and the star are traditional symbols of Islam; the design was based on the flag of the US



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