Etymology: bi- + Late Latin camera chamber — more at chamber
: having, consisting of, or based on two legislative chambers
— bi·cam·er·al·ism \ noun
The Dewan Negara (literally "National Hall") or Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of Malaysia. The Senate consists of 70 members, of which 26 are indirectly elected by the states, with two senators for every state in the Federation, and the other 44 being appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King). The Senate reviews legislation that has been passed by the lower house of Parliament, the Dewan Rakyat; both meet at the Houses of Parliament in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Both houses must pass a bill before it can be 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 year (at the most) before it is sent to the King.
Each of the 13 state legislative assemblies chooses 2 Senators. The term of office is 3 years and Senators can only be re-elected once, consecutively or non-consecutively. The King appoints two Senators for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, and one respectively for the Federal Territories of Labuan and Putrajaya on the advice of the Prime Minister. Another 40 Senators, regardless of their states, are appointed by the King, also on the Prime Minister's advice.
The intent of the original Constitution of Malaysia, which provided for only 16 Senators to be appointed by the King (thus placing them in the minority) was to give the states some say over federal policy. However, subsequent amendments have, according to former Lord President of the Federal Court Tun Mohamed Suffian Mohamed Hashim, acted "contrary to the spirit of the original constitution which established the Senate specially as a body to protect in the federal Parliament, state interests against federal encroachments"
Norhisham Mutalib speaks his mind:
Something is wrong somewhere when a member of AN UPPER HOUSE resigned and choose to be elected in the LOWER HOUSE (he lost anyway!). What's the purpose of having a upper house anyway?
Obama is coming from the Senatorship (upper house as well) track to the White House while Bush and Clinton came from the Governorship track.
OK fine, some will says that we have a Westminster style Parliament, the hell with the American system!
Should we amend the ratio and have some elected Senators to our Senate?
or Should we use the British's House of Lords approach, have 20 of our TUNs to be Senators (King's Appointments). All TUNs are prominent and respected figures and the TUNship are limited to 40 only at a time (20 1st Order Tuns and 20 2nd Order Tuns). I am not a Constitutional expert (for God sake i'm a communications engineer and not a lawyer!), can't we do something about it?
I am concerned because we should uphold the prestige of our Senate, it is not a mere rubber stamp equipment or political stepping stone!