Abstract: This article reviews contemporary events in Malaysia involving the “1MDB” corruption scandal and the country’s 14th general election held on 9 May 2018 that changed the national government for the fi rst time after 60 years of nationhood. Underlying those events were political and legal contests concerning the separation of powers within Malaysia’s constitutional system. Serious erosion of the separation of powers that occurred under the previous government contributed to the scandal that implicated the Prime Minister personally and endangered the nation’s ability to change the government through free and fair elections. The new government has proposed institutional reforms with the aim of rebuilding a strong separation of powers system. This article examines selected institutions that those reforms will involve and offers some initial observations on the trajectory and effi cacy of the proposed reforms. The institutions include Parliament; the ministerial departments and other executive entities including the public services, the anti-corruption commission and the Attorney-General; and the judiciary. The institution of constitutional monarchy is also examined.
Keywords: Malaysia; institutional reforms; separation of powers; 1MDB; elections; government accountability; parliamentary scrutiny; judicial independence and accountability; Attorney-General; constitutional monarchy
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