UNDERSTANDING LEGISLATIVE PROCESS



LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

(continue from earlier entry)

In Malaysia, the legislative authority at the Federal level, is vested in Parliament. Parliament
Legislation is enacted by Parliament by introducing a Bill which is passed by both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, and assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In Malaysia, there are four types of legislation considered by Parliament. These are:
  1. Public or government Bill
Public bills include bills on matters of general public interest such as national defence, public order and taxation.

     ii.        Private Bills – deal with matters of Local and Personal concern. Private Bills are those affecting limited or particular persons or group of persons, associations, organisations or bodies.

    iii.        Private Members’ Bill
Private Member’s Bill are those introduced by any member of the legislature other than a minister or assistant minister.
Only twice private member’s Bill been introduced and both unsuccessfully:
a.    By Dr Lim Chong Eu (MP for Tanjung) on 15 June 1966 to amend the Federal Constitution. He was granted leave to introduce the Constitution and Malaysia Act (Amendment) Bill to amend Article 159(3) of the Federal Constitution by providing for a mandatory interval of at least one month between the date of introduction of a Bill amending federal Constitution and the date upon which such Bill was to be taken through its second reading.
b.    By Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (MP for Gua Musang)  in 1988 to amend the Societies Act to reinstate the UMNO following it’s deregistration after being declared illegal by the High Court.


  1. Hybrid Bills
Hybrid Bills may be of general application and are introduced by either a minister or private member but they belong to that class of Bills which, in the opinion of the speaker as the case may be appear to affect individual rights or interests adversely.

Procedure for the enactment of an Act of Parliament
There are two main stages in the process: Pre-parliamentary and Parliamentary.

1. Pre-parliamentary Stage
This covers the proposal, consultation and drafting stage. The proposal may come from organizations, bodies or government after taking account some events or considerations. Such as before General Election, Barisan Nasional in their manifesto promised to make law set up a commission to prevent corruption. Therefore, after they become Government, they have to make law to set up the agency.
Government will make consultation with bodies related, get opinions from expert and make research including get other countries’ experience. After completion this stage, the matters to be include in the law will sent to AG Chambers for drafting. After approval by the cabinet, the Bill is ready to be introduced into Parliament.

2. Parliamentary Stage

             
The procedure is set out in Chapter 5, Part IV of the Federal Constitution and Standing Orders of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara. The Standing Orders regulate the actual procedure in the passage of a Bill in Parliament. These rules have been drawn up under powers conferred by Article 62 of Constitution which empowers each House to regulate its own procedure.

First Reading
This is a mere formality and may take place even if the Bills has not been printed and circulated. The minister presents the Bill by having its short title read by the clerk of the Dewan. There is no debate or amendment at this stage of the proceedings.

Second Reading
It occurs only when the bill is printed and circulated. The Second reading is preceded by a motion to this effect:
“Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that a Bill (name of the bIll) be now read a second time.”
This motion requires to be seconded. The minister outlines the main principles of the bill. A debate on principles ensues. If the bill receives the requisite number of votes, it proceeds to Committee Stage.

Committee Stage
At the end of the Second reading, the Bill is committed to a committee of the whole of House. In effect, the House resolves itself into a Committee on the Bill. This is called the Committee Stage and it is intended to allow members the opportunity to discuss details of the Bill and to propose amendments in a less formal proceeding.
When discussion is completed in Committee, the minister moves a motion to report the Bill under consideration to the House. If the motion is accepted, the House will resume sitting and this brings the Committee Stage to an end.
Sometimes a Bill is not considered by the Committee of the whole House  but by a Special Select Committee.  This is an ad hoc Committee appointed for a particular purpose. The size and members to be nominated to the Committee will be determined by a Committee of Selection.

Third Reading 
When the House resumes sitting, the minister reports that the Bills has been considered and accepted by the Committee with or without amendments. He then moves a motion that the Bill be read a third time and passed. If the motion is accepted, the Bill is considered passed. The formal motion is as follows:
“Mr. Speaker, sir, I beg to report that (name of the Bill) has been considered in committee and has been agreed to with (or without) amendments. Sir, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a third time and passed.”

Other House
When a Bill has been passed in the manner described above in either House, it is then transmitted or sent to the other House for consideration. When the Bill has been considered by the other House in a similar fashion, it is returned to the House from which it originated.

Royal Assent
The Yang Dipertuan Agong is an integral part of parliament. His assent is normally required before a Bill becomes law. Clause 4 of article 66 reads:
“The Yang Dipertuan Agong shall within thirty days after a Bill is presented to him assent to the Bill by causing the Public seal to be affixed thereto”.


This clause did not exist in the original version of the Constitution (1957 and 1963 version). It was a later addition which was first came into force from 20 January 1984 and later further strengthened. Where the royal assent is not affected within a time specified, the Bill becomes law as if it had been assented. This new provision clearly took away the Royal discretion and imposed a time frame for approval. The time frame is one month for Money Bill and twelve months if it is not Money Bill.
UNDERSTANDING LEGISLATIVE PROCESS UNDERSTANDING LEGISLATIVE PROCESS Reviewed by Kamaruddin Mahmood on 10:49:00 PTG Rating: 5

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