Tuesday, May 6, 2008

25th Anniversary of Parliament

25th Anniversary of Parliament

Date of Issue: 1985-03-30
Denominations: 20 cents and $1.00
Stamp Size: 28mm x 32mm
Paper: Unwatermarked
Printing Process: Offset Lithography
Printer: Security Printers (M) Sdn. Bhd. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Sheet Composition: 100 stamps
Designer: Mr. Peter Khang Howe Ket

Stamps in the Series:

First Day Cover:

The Malaysian Parliament as provided by the Constitution, consists of His Majesty the King (Yang di-Pertuan Agong), the Senate (Dewan Negara) and the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat).

Today, the Senate has a total of 68 members, 26 elected by the various State Legislatures and 42 appointed by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The tenure of office for a member of the Senate is 3 years but one can serve for a maximum of two terms, i.e. 6 years. The Constitution provides for the election of the President and the Deputy President from members of the Senate.

The House of Representatives has 154 members, excluding the Speaker, who if the House chooses may be elected from outside the membership of the House. The membership will be increased to 176 for the next parliamentary election. Members are elected every five years or earlier if His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament before the end of the five-year period.

The first session of the First Parliament of the Federation of Malaya comprising of 104 elected members of the House of Representatives met at 10.00 am on 11th of September 1959 at Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman to elect the first speaker of the House. The Senate was formed the same year and had 38 members then.

The Constitution provides that His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall from time to time summon Parliament and shall not allow six months to lapse between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its meeting in the next session. His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may prorogue or dissolve Parliament. Parliament unless dissolved sooner shall continue for five years from the date of its first meeting and shall then be dissolved. Whenever Parliament is dissolved a general election shall be held within sixty days in the states of Peninsular Malaysia and ninety days in Sabah and Sarawak from the date of the dissolution and Parliament shall be summoned to meet again on a date not later than 120 days from that date.
The first meeting of the session is opened ceremoniously with His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong inspecting a guard of honor and then proceeding into the Chamber of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Royal Address is a policy statement drawn up by the Government outlining government activities and achievements in the previous session and its policy and the steps it intends to take in the current session.

Each Parliament consists of 4 or 5 sessions and a session covers roughly a period of about a year, usually beginning in March or April. At the end of each Parliament session by means of a Proclamation by His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate would hold any meeting until a new session is summoned. About three or four sittings are held in respect of each session. Each sitting usually lasts for two weeks in the case of the House of Representatives and one week in the case of the Senate. However the Budget meeting, which usually begins in October lasts for as long as six weeks or more in the case of the House of Representatives, and three weeks in the case of the Senate.

It is here in Parliament that laws are made. Once the law in draft form is approved by Cabinet, the Minister responsible will give notice to the Secretary of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The draft law is then printed and distributed to both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The draft law is introduced by the Minister responsible in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The draft law is read through three stages, namely the first reading, the second reading and the third reading before it is approved. After the second reading, the draft law will be discussed in the Committee Stage. The draft then goes to the Senate where it undergoes a similar process, except the first reading. After Senate approval the draft law is forwarded to His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for royal assent and then the law is gazetted. The specialty of Parliament is that the Constitution provides that any proceedings of both the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot be questioned by anybody, not even in the court of law.

The Constitution states that Parliament is supreme and provides for a democratic form of government with a constitutional monarch at the helm. The Malaysian Parliament is the heart of nation. It is visible proof to the world of the faith of the Malaysian people in the concept of Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.

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