Our Government

Malaysia has thirteen states and three Federal Territories, of which Kuala Lumpur is the present administrative centre. Of the thirteen states, nine are headed by their Royal Highnesses, the Sultans, while the former Straits Settlements - Penang and Melaka (Singapore has become an independent country) - and the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak are under the care of the Governor. The Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, in Sabah, each have a Datuk Bandar, or Mayor. The newly completed Putrajaya is also a Federal Territory and it is due to become the new administrative centre of Malaysia once the transition is completed.

Putrajaya is 25 km south of Kuala Lumpur and only 20 km away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). A futuristic city no one would have thought possible in this day and age in Malaysia, it embodies the culture and traditions of Malaysia. Other than the government office complexes, homes for the people and a lavish mosque, this self-sufficient township comes complete with its very own wetlands and nature highlights.

The head of the Malaysian nation is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and this position is shared on a rotation basis by the Sultans of the nine royal states. Elected by his fellow Sultans, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong holds the position for five years before passing the "reigns" to another Sultan. The first Yang di-Pertuan Agong was elected on the basis of seniority. As a parliamentary democracy, the Malaysian government is headed by the Prime Minister and his deputy; a host of other Ministers and their ministries all work together to implement the government's policies that are so crucial to the growth and development of Malaysia. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party that has won a two-thirds majority in the general elections held once every five years, at the most. The Prime Minister names his Cabinet and confers with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong about the appointment of the Ministers.

Malaysia has seen tremendous growth and progress in the last 25 years. Education and healthcare, as well as social security, are issues of great importance to the government. Schools and hospitals are heavily subsidized by the government as part of its national plan to benefit the masses. Being duly concerned about the well-being of the nation's people, the Malaysian government is non-negotiable in enforcing its anti-drug trafficking laws; its harshest penalties are death by hanging and life imprisonment. This sentence has been meted out to both locals and foreigners alike. This is one area the government rarely compromises on.

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  Information provided by Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.


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