Princes and Politicians: The Constitutional Crisis in Malaysia, 1983–4

  • A. J. Stockwell
Part of the Cambridge Commonwealth Series book series (CAMCOM)

Abstract

In late July 1983 the government of Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad tabled in the Malaysian parliament a bill to amend the constitution. Among its 22 provisions were three curtailing the authority of the King (Yang di-Pertuan Agung) and Their Highnesses the State Rulers. The Barisan National (National Front), a coalition dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), had no difficulty securing the necessary two-thirds majority. Although the public were not made aware of the issue at the time, it became a cause célèbre because the Yang di-Pertuan Agung, backed by the rulers, withheld his assent.

Keywords

Malaysia Defend Clarification Hate 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    See Tan Sri Mohamed Suffian bin Hashim, An Introduction to the Constitution of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1972, pp. 17–27, and Tun Mohamed Suffian, H. P. Lee and F. A. Trinidade ed., The Constitution of Malaysia. Its Development: 1957–1977, Kuala Lumpur, 1978, pp. 101–122.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. C. Milner, ‘Malay Kingship in a Burmese Perspective’ in Ian Mabbett ed., Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia, London, Sydney etc., 1985, p. 178.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See J. de V. Allen, A. J. Stockwell and L. R. Wright ed., A Collection of Treaties and other Documents affecting the States of Malaysia 1761–1963, London, Rome, New York, 1981, vol. I, pp. 117–128, vol. II, p. 98 ff and p. 251 ff.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Colonial Office, Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957, London, HMSO, Colonial No. 330, 1957. See also Constitutional Proposals for the Federation of Malaya, Parliamentary Papers, Cmnd. 210, June 1957.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Michael Ong, ‘Malaysia in 1983: On the Road to Greater Malaysia’ in Southeast Asian Affairs 1984, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 1984, p. 201 ff.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong, 14 July 1983, p. 16.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 8 April 1982, p. 24.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Mahathir bin Mohamad, The Malay Dilemma, Kuala Lumpur, 1982 ed., pp. 116, 157, 170–1. First published in Singapore in 1970 this book was proscribed in Malaysia until after Mahathir became Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Malaysia: Federal Constitution, Kuala Lumpur, 1970, with amendments passed in 1971.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Cited by H. F. Rawlings, ‘The Malaysian Constitutional Crisis of 1983’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 35 (2), Apr. 1986, p. 249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 15.
    Michael Ong, loc. cit., p. 202 ff. Lim Kit Siang’s views were subsequently printed by the Democratic Action Party in Constitutional Crisis in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1983.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Tan Boon Kean, ‘Orwell’s year in the Malaysian Press’, Far Eastern Economic Review, 20 Sept. 1984, pp. 40–1.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Tunku Abdul Rahman, Contemporary Issues, pp. 136–7. Mahathir attacked Malaysians who disagreed with him and wrote for the foreign press as ‘pet poodles’ providing ‘twisted reports for their foreign masters’, The Times (London), 14 Dec. 1983.Google Scholar
  14. 25.
    Harry Miller, Prince and Premier. A Biography of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj First Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya, London, 1959, p. 96.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. A. Low 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Stockwell

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations