What are the contents of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia?
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia is divided into 15 parts. Part I defines the state of Malaysia to include the mainland and its territories. Part II enumerates the basic liberties of all citizens. These include: freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, freedom of movement, and protection against repeated criminal trials.
The Malaysian constitution explicitly defines Malaysia as an Islamic state. At the same time, the constitution lists freedom of religion as a fundamental liberty. There are many details on protected religious freedom throughout the document. For example, the constitution grants states the right to set up an Islamic court system, but forbids a state from forcibly applying Islamic law to non-Muslims. In order to be legally compliant with their constitution, then, states must provide to their citizens an alternative system of secular judicial law. Malaysia's constitution is noteworthy among Islamic states in its explicit protection of the religious freedom of non-Muslims.
Parts III, IV, and V of the constitution define Malaysian citizenship, and state the conditions and requirements of statehood. Part VI details the powers, duties, and limitations of both federal and state governments. Parts VII, VIII, and IX make provisions for taxes, elections, and the judiciary branch of government.
Part X of the Malaysian constitution discusses the function of the various branches of civil service, and lists the rights and obligations of civil service employees. The final third of the constitution, Parts XI-XV, make provisions for various unusual states, such as: terrorism, violent uprising, national emergency, or the assassination of the head of state.