Constitutional Law - The Executive

The executive in our system comprises of three elements :-

i. The Head of State

ii. The Cabinet

iii. Civil Service



Every country has Head of State. In Malaysia the Head of State is the Constitutional Monarchy. Although the Executive authority of the Federation is vested on him, in many instances he has acted on advice by the Cabinet. However in certain area he may act on his discretion.

Head of State for Federal Government

Yang di Pertuan Agong (5 years rotation).

Head of State for State Government


Governors appointed by YDPA on advise from Chief Minister


According to De Smith in this system the Prime Minister is the effective Head of Government and not Head of State. The Prime Minister residing over a cabinet composing of ministers over which he has the power to appoint/control/removal. The ministers are collectively and individually responsible.

Function of Head of State

Three main kind of functions :-

i. Constitutional functions which is purely formal & residual. (appointment of Prime

Minister / dissolve House of Assembly)

ii. Carrying out a variety of Public engagement and ceremonial duties (Head of Armies)

iii. Symbolic and Representative function. This is the important function because they represent

the state and the nation (Article 36 of Federal Constitution) whereas the Yang di Pertuan Agong keeping public seal.

Article 39 of Federal Constitution said about Executive Power on YDPA.

Article 132 of Federal Constitution represent powers to Public service.

In the Case of Dato’ Menteri Othman Baginda v Dato Ombi Syed Alwi stated that dispute in rulling 2 main principle laid down on constitutional interpretation understanding the functions of Head of State :

i. Judicial Precedent plays less part

ii. Constitution must be construed broadly and more generosity then other Acts and in less rigidity.
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