The Dewan Negara and Constitutional Reform: Upper Houses in Comparative Perspective


  • Andrew Harding



Law Reform, Upper House, Malaysia, Constitution, Legislature


This article looks at issues relating to the possibilities for reforming Malaysia’s Dewan Negara (Senate) with regard to its constitutional functioning, rather than its internal operation. Two major functions of upper houses – representation and revision – are explored in comparative perspective, and the implications of these functions are discussed in relation to the composition of the Dewan Negara. It is suggested that the proportion of senators representing the states and government appointed senators has become imbalanced, reducing the efficacy of the House in both of its roles, and accordingly that the number of appointed senators should be reduced to a minority of the total. Over the last six decades the House has had too little impact on law-making and accountability. Reforms can tap into the House as a major resource in Malaysian public life.


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Author Biography

Andrew Harding

Visiting Research Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore


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