Dewan Rakyat

House of Representatives
Malay: Dewan Rakyat
13th Parliament of Malaysia
Pandikar Amin Mulia, BNUMNO
Since 28 April 2008
Deputy Speaker
Ronald Kiandee, BNUMNO
Since 28 April 2008
Deputy Speaker
Ismail Mohamed Said, BNUMNO
Since 24 June 2013
Roosme Hamzah
Since 26 December 2007
Seats 222 Members of Parliament (MPs)
Quorum: 26[1]
Simple majority: 112
Two-thirds majority: 148
Political groups

(As of 26 October 2016)
     Barisan Nasional (BN) (130)

Ministers: 34
Deputy ministers: 28
Backbenchers: 68

The Opposition
     Pakatan Harapan (PH) (71)

  •      DAP (37)
  •      PKR (28)
  •      PAN (6)

     Gagasan Sejahtera (GS) (14)

  •      PAS (14)

     PSM (1)
     BERSATU (1)
     WARISAN (2)
     Khalid Ibrahim (1)

     Vacant (0)
Plurality: First-past-the-post (222 single-member constituencies)
Last election
5 May 2013
Next election
24 August 2018 or earlier
Meeting place
Malaysian Houses of Parliament, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Dewan Rakyat (Malay for House of Representatives, literally People's Hall) is the lower house of the Parliament of Malaysia, consisting of members elected during elections from federal constituencies drawn by the Election Commission.

The Dewan Rakyat usually proposes legislation through a draft known as a 'bill'. All bills must usually be passed by both the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) and the Dewan Negara, before they are sent to the King for royal assent. However, if the Dewan Negara rejects a bill, it can only delay the bill's passage by a maximum of a year before it is sent to the King. Like the Dewan Negara, the Dewan Rakyat meets at the Malaysian Houses of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur.


Members of the Dewan Rakyat are referred to as "Members of Parliament (MPs)" or "Ahli Dewan Rakyat" (literally "member of the Dewan Rakyat") in Malay. The term of office is as long as the member wins in the elections.

A member of the Dewan Rakyat must be at least 21 years of age and must not be a member of the Dewan Negara. The presiding officer of the Dewan Rakyat is the Speaker, who is elected at the beginning of each Parliament or after the vacation of the post, by the MPs. Two Deputy Speakers are also elected, and one of them sits in place of the Speaker when he is absent. The Dewan Rakyat machinery is supervised by the Clerk to the House who is appointed by the King; he may only be removed from office through the manner prescribed for judges or by mandatory retirement at age 60.[2]

As of the 2013 general election, Dewan Rakyat has 222 elected members. Members are elected from federal constituencies drawn by the Election Commission. Constituency boundaries are redrawn every ten years based on the latest census.

Each Dewan Rakyat lasts for a maximum of five years, after which a general election must be called. In the general election, voters select a candidate to represent their constituency in the Dewan Rakyat. The plurality voting system is used; the candidate who gains the most votes wins the seat.

Before a general election can be called, the King must first dissolve Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister.[2] According to the Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the right at his own discretion to either grant or withhold consent to dissolve the parliament.

Powers and procedure

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Acts of Parliament in Malaysia.

As the ultimate legislative body in Malaysia, Parliament is responsible for passing, amending and repealing acts of law.

Parliament's members are permitted to speak on any subject without fear of censure outside Parliament; the only body that can censure an MP is the House Committee of Privileges. Such "Parliamentary immunity" takes effect from the moment a member of Parliament is sworn in, and only applies to when that member has the floor; it does not apply to statements made outside the House. An exception is made by the Sedition Act passed by Parliament in the wake of the 13 May racial riots in 1969. Under the Act, all public discussion of repealing certain Articles of the Constitution dealing with Bumiputra privileges such as Article 153 is illegal. This prohibition is extended to all members of both houses of Parliament.[3] Members of Parliament are also forbidden from criticising the King and judges.[4]

The executive government, comprising the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, is usually drawn from members of Parliament; most of its members are typically members of the Dewan Rakyat. After a general election or the resignation or death of a Prime Minister, the King selects the Prime Minister, who is the Head of Government but constitutionally subordinate to him, from the Dewan Rakyat. In practice, this is usually the leader of the largest party in Parliament. The Prime Minister then submits a list containing the names of members of his Cabinet, who will then be appointed as Ministers by the King. Members of the Cabinet must also be members of Parliament. If the Prime Minister loses the confidence of the Dewan Rakyat, whether by losing a no-confidence vote or failing to pass a budget, he must either advice the King to dissolve Parliament and hold a general election or submit his resignation to the King. The King has the discretion to grant or withheld consent to the dissolution. If consent is withheld, the government must resign and the King would appoint a new Prime Minister that has the support of the majority of members of Parliament. The Cabinet formulates government policy and drafts bills, meeting in private. Its members must accept "collective responsibility" for the decisions the Cabinet makes, even if some members disagree with it; if they do not wish to be held responsible for Cabinet decisions, they must resign. Although the Constitution makes no provision for it, there is also a Deputy Prime Minister, who is the de facto successor of the Prime Minister should he die or be otherwise incapacitated.[5]

A proposed act of law begins its life when a particular government minister or ministry prepares a first draft with the assistance of the Attorney-General's Department. The draft, known as a bill, is then discussed by the Cabinet. If it is agreed to submit it to Parliament, the bill is distributed to all MPs. It then goes through three readings before the Dewan Rakyat. The first reading is where the minister or his deputy submits it to Parliament. At the second reading, the bill is discussed and debated by MPs. At the third reading, the minister or his deputy formally submit it to a vote for approval. A simple majority is usually required to pass the bill, but in certain cases, such as amendments to the constitution, a two-thirds majority is required. Should the bill pass, it is sent to the Dewan Negara, where the three readings are carried out again. The Dewan Negara may choose not to pass the bill, but this only delays its passage by a month, or in some cases, a year; once this period expires, the bill is considered to have been passed by the house.[6]

If the bill passes, it is presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who has 30 days to consider the bill. Should he disagree with it, he returns it to Parliament with a list of suggested amendments. Parliament must then reconsider the bill and its proposed amendments and return it to the King within 30 days if they pass it again. The King then has another 30 days to give the royal assent; otherwise, it passes into law. The law does not take effect until it is published in the Government Gazette.[7]

The government attempts to maintain top secrecy regarding bills debated; MPs generally receive copies of bills only a few days before they are debated, and newspapers are rarely provided with copies of the bills before they are debated. In some cases, such as a 1968 amendment to the Constitution, an MP may be presented with a bill to be debated on the same day it is tabled, and all three readings may be carried out that day itself.[8] In rare circumstances, the government may release a White paper containing particular proposals that will eventually be incorporated into a bill; this has been done for legislation such as the Universities and University Colleges Act.[9]

Interior of Dewan Rakyat during the 12th Parliament.

Although the process above assumes only the government can propose bills, there also exists a process for Private Member's Bills. However, as in most other legislatures following the Westminster System, few members of Parliament actually introduce bills.[10] To present a Private Member's Bill, the member in question must seek the leave of the House in question to debate the bill before it is moved. Originally, it was allowed to debate the bill in the process of seeking leave, but this process was discontinued by an amendment to the Standing Orders of Parliament.[11] It is also possible for members of the Dewan Negara to initiate bills; however, only cabinet ministers are permitted to move finance-related bills, which must be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.[12]

It is often alleged that legislation proposed by the opposition parties, which must naturally be in the form of a Private Member's Bill, is not seriously considered by Parliament. Some have gone as far as to claim that the rights of members of Parliament to debate proposed bills have been severely curtailed by incidents such as an amendment of the Standing Orders that permitted the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to amend written copies of MPs' speeches before they were made. Nevertheless, it is admitted by some of these critics that "Government officials often face sharp questioning in Parliament, although this [i]s not always reported in detail in the press."[13]

Current composition

Current composition of the 13th Parliament of Malaysia
as of 26 October 2016
Diagram of the current members of Dewan Rakyat
State and
federal territories
# of
Perlis Perlis 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kedah Kedah 15 10 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 0
Kelantan Kelantan 14 5 0 1 7 1 0 0 0 0
Terengganu Terengganu 8 4 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 0
Penang Penang 13 3 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Perak Perak 24 13 6 2 1 1 1 0 0 0
Pahang Pahang 14 10 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Selangor Selangor 22 5 4 9 1 3 0 0 0 0
Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur 11 2 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 1
Putrajaya Putrajaya 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Negeri Sembilan Negeri Sembilan 8 5 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Malacca Malacca 6 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Johor Johor 26 20 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Labuan Labuan 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sabah Sabah 25 21 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Sarawak Sarawak 31 25 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 222 132 37 28 14 6 1 1 2 1

Seating arrangement*

Alor Setar Kampar Bakri Miri Bandar Tun Razak Vacant Vacant Vacant Julau Tenom Kudat Vacant Vacant Kuala Kangsar Sungai Besar Kota Tinggi Baram Setiu Gerik
Batu Pahat Kuala Kedah Sibu Batu Kawan Vacant Vacant Vacant Rompin Kuala Pilah Kanowit Pendang Jelebu Lipis Tasek Gelugor Alor Gajah Kota Samarahan Labuan Pasir Gudang Kuala Selangor
Pengkalan Chepa Bachok Lumut Sarikei Vacant Vacant Kulim-Bandar Baharu Setiawangsa Tanah Merah Betong Paya Besar Cameron Highlands Sik Sekijang Jerantut Merbok Sabak Bernam Sepanggar Kangar Lubok Antu Parit
Dungun Bukit Gelugor Bukit Mertajam Stampin Vacant Baling Lenggong Parit Sulong Tampin Mukah Mersing Libaran Sipitang Igan Langkawi Vacant Padang Besar Batu Sapi Tebrau
Kubang Kerian Serdang Gopeng Segambut Penampang Saratok Simpang Renggam Putatan Bintulu Ranau Kinabatangan Kepala Batas Machang Sri Aman Mas Gading Vacant Jerlun Sibuti Tanjong Manis
Pasir Puteh Sandakan Tanjong Tumpat Tanjong Piai Kalabakan Tambun Jempol Johor Bahru Masjid Tanah Pulai Vacant (Senator) Bagan Serai Limbang
Pokok Sena Kota Melaka Rasah Kepong F Gua Musang Keningau Ketereh D (Senator) (Senator) Hulu Rajang Jasin
Petaling Jaya Selatan Sungai Siput Kuantan Rantau Panjang Semporna G E C Kimanis Rembau Vacant Vacant Kubang Pasu
Padang Serai Kelana Jaya Bayan Baru Kuala Nerus Pasir Mas Sergeant-at-Arm Bera Vacant Titiwangsa Sri Gading Vacant
Wangsa Maju Kapar Nibong Tebal Temerloh Bukit Gantang Kemaman Arau (Senator) Tenggara Tangga Batu
Indera Mahkota Kuala Langat Hulu Langat Kota Bharu Marang Kota Marudu Besut Tanjong Malim Balik Pulau Kapit
Ipoh Timor Batu Gajah Taiping Batu Lembah Pantai H the Mace B Jeli Putrajaya Pengerang Beaufort Maran
Lanang Kota Kinabalu Beruas Bukit Bintang Cheras Sembrong Serian Vacant (Senator) Tawau
Jelutong Kulai Selayang Seputeh Pagoh Padang Rengas Petrajaya Padang Terap Vacant Hulu Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu Kota Raja Telok Kemang Ipoh Barat Gombak Telok Intan Batang Lupar Santubong Mambong Hulu Selangor
Raub Sungai Petani Sepang Seremban Bagan I A Segamat Selangau Larut Pontian (Senator)
Klang Pandan Shah Alam Bandar Kuching Parit Buntar Bentong Tuaran Ayer Hitam Muar Pasir Salak
Bukit Bendera Kluang Petaling Jaya Utara Bukit Katil Gelang Patah Bagan Datok Pensiangan Batang Sadong Papar Kuala Krau
Kuala Krai Puchong Subang Ampang Permatang Pauh Secretary Pekan Jerai (Senator) Tapah Beluran
  • The seating arrangement is viewable at the official website.[14]

Latest election result

Members of Dewan Rakyat as elected in 2013 by federal constituency
Equal-area representation of members of Dewan Rakyat as elected in 2013 by federal constituency
Diagram of the members of Dewan Rakyat as elected in 2013
 Summary of the 5 May 2013 Malaysian Dewan Rakyat election results
Party Vote Seats
Votes % Won % +/–
National Front[lower-alpha 1]BN5,237,69947.3813359.91Decrease7
United Malays National OrganisationUMNO3,252,48429.428839.64Increase9
Malaysian Chinese AssociationMCA867,8517.8573.15Decrease8
Malaysian Indian CongressMIC286,6292.5941.80Increase1
United Traditional Bumiputera PartyPBB232,3902.10146.31Steady
Malaysian People's Movement PartyGerakan191,0191.7310.45Decrease1
Sarawak United People's PartySUPP133,6031.2110.45Decrease5
United Sabah PartyPBS74,9590.6841.80Increase1
Sarawak People's PartyPRS59,5400.5462.70Steady
Sarawak Progressive Democratic PartySPDP55,5050.5041.80Steady
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut OrganisationUPKO53,5840.4831.35Decrease1
Liberal Democratic PartyLDP13,1380.1200.00Decrease1
United Sabah People's PartyPBRS9,4670.0910.45Steady
People's Progressive PartyPPP7,5300.0700.00Steady
Parties in the informal coalition, People's PactPR5,623,98450.878940.09Increase7
Democratic Action Party[lower-alpha 2]DAP1,736,26715.713817.12Increase10
People's Justice Party[lower-alpha 2]PKR2,254,32820.393013.51Decrease1
Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party[lower-alpha 2]PAS1,633,38914.78219.46Decrease2
State Reform PartySTAR45,3860.4100.00Steady
Pan-Malaysian Islamic FrontBerjasa31,8350.2900.00Steady
Sarawak Workers PartySWP15,6300.1400.00Steady
Sabah Progressive Party[lower-alpha 3]SAPP10,0990.0900.00Decrease2
Love Malaysia PartyPCM2,1290.0200.00Steady
Homeland Human's Wellbeing PartyKITA6230.0100.00Steady
Malaysian United People's PartyMUPP2570.0000.00Steady
Valid votes11,054,577
Invalid/blank votes202,570
Total votes (voter turnout: 84.84%)11,257,147100.00222100.00Steady
Did not vote2,010,855
Registered voters13,268,002
Ordinary voters12,885,434
Early voters235,826
Postal voters146,742
Voting age population (aged 21 years and above)17,883,697
Malaysian population29,628,392

Source: Election Commission of Malaysia
Source: Nohlen et al.

  1. Contested using dacing election symbol on the ballot papers.
  2. 1 2 3 Parties in the informal coalition, People's Pact (Pakatan Rakyat). Contested using separate election symbol on the ballot papers.
  3. Net seat change of component parties is –5. Sabah Progressive Party left the National Front after the 2008 election, which accounted for 2 more seats lost.

Members per state and federal territory

State /
federal territory
Number of seats Population
Population per seat
Kuala Lumpur F. T. Kuala Lumpur at-large 11 1,627,172 147,925
Labuan F. T. Labuan 1 85,272 85,272
Putrajaya F. T. Putrajaya 1 67,964 67,964
 Johor at-large 26 3,233,434 124,363
 Kedah at-large 15 1,890,098 126,007
 Kelantan at-large 14 1,459,994 104,285
 Malacca at-large 6 788,706 131,451
 Negeri Sembilan at-large 8 997,071 124,634
 Pahang at-large 14 1,443,365 103,098
 Penang at-large 13 1,520,143 116,934
 Perak at-large 24 2,258,428 94,101
 Perlis at-large 3 227,025 75,675
 Sabah at-large 25 3,120,040 124,802
 Sarawak at-large 31 2,420,009 78,065
 Selangor at-large 22 5,411,324 245,969
 Terengganu at-large 8 1,015,776 126,972
Perlis Kedah Penang Northern Region at-large 31 3,637,266 117,331
Perak Selangor Kuala Lumpur Putrajaya Central Region at-large 58 9,364,888 161,464
Negeri Sembilan Malacca Johor Western Region at-large 40 5,019,211 125,480
Kelantan Terengganu Pahang Central Region at-large 36 3,919,135 108,865
Labuan Sabah Sarawak Eastern Region at-large 57 5,625,321 98,690

Notes and references

  1. Standing Order 13 (1) of the Dewan Rakyat
  2. 1 2 "Government: Parliament: Dewan Rakyat". Retrieved 8 February 2006. Archived 14 June 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Means, Gordon P. (1991). Malaysian Politics: The Second Generation, pp. 14, 15. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-588988-6.
  4. Myytenaere, Robert (1998). "The Immunities of Members of Parliament". Retrieved 12 February 2006.
  5. "Branches of Government in Malaysia". Retrieved 3 February 2006.
  6. Shuid, Mahdi & Yunus, Mohd. Fauzi (2001). Malaysian Studies, pp. 33, 34. Longman. ISBN 983-74-2024-3.
  7. Shuid & Yunus, p. 34.
  8. Tan, Chee Koon & Vasil, Raj (ed., 1984). Without Fear or Favour, p. 7. Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 967-908-051-X.
  9. Tan & Vasil, p. 11.
  10. Ram, B. Suresh (16 December 2005). "Pro-people, passionate politician". The Sun.
  11. Lim, Kit Siang (1997). "Consensus Against Corruption". Retrieved 11 February 2006.
  12. Henderson, John William, Vreeland, Nena, Dana, Glenn B., Hurwitz, Geoffrey B., Just, Peter, Moeller, Philip W. & Shinn, R.S. (1977). Area Handbook for Malaysia, p. 219. American University, Washington D.C., Foreign Area Studies. LCCN 771294.
  13. "Malaysia". Retrieved 22 January 2006.
  14. "".
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