Country in Southeast Asia, comprising the Malay Peninsula, bounded north by Thailand, and surrounded east and south by the South China Sea and west by the Strait of Malacca; and the states of Sabah and Sarawak in the northern part of the island of Borneo (southern Borneo is part of Indonesia).

Malaysia is a federation of 13 states: Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, and Trengganu, plus the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, and the island of Labuan, which are separate federal territories. Each state has its own constitution, head of state, and elected assembly, led by a chief minister and cabinet, and legislates on matters outside the federal parliament's sphere.

Under the 1957 constitution, a monarch is elected for five-year terms by, and from among the hereditary rulers of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, and Trengganu. The paramount ruler's powers are similar to those of the British monarch, including discretion in the appointment of a prime minister and in granting a dissolution of parliament. Generally, the monarch acts on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet, who wield effective power.

The two-chamber federal legislature or parliament is composed of a 70-member upper house or senate, the Dewan Negara, comprising 40 members nominated by the head of state, four from the two federal territories, and two members elected by each of the 13 state assemblies for six-year terms, and a house of representatives, the Dewan Rakyat, whose 192 members are elected for five-year terms from single-member constituencies by universal suffrage. The senate can only delay bills already approved by the dominant house of representatives, whose majority party or coalition provides the prime minister, who governs with a cabinet selected from parliament.

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