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Malaysia

Constitution as adopted on 31 August 1957.

Article 16

    Subject to Article 18, any person of or over the age of eighteen years who was born in the Federation before Merdeka Day is entitled, upon making application to the Federal Government, to be registered as a citizen if he satisfies the Federal Government...
      (d) that he has an elementary knowledge of the Malay language.

Article 16A

    Subject to Article 18, any person over the age of eighteen years who is on Malaysia Day ordinarily resident in the State of Sabah or Sarawak is entitled, upon making application to the Federal Government before September 1971, to be registered as a citizen if he satisfies the Federal Government...
      (d) except where the application is made before September 1965, and the applicant has attained the age of forty-five years at the date of the application, that he has a sufficient knowledge of the Malay language or the English language or, in the case of an applicant ordinarily resident in Sarawak, the Malay language, the English language or any native language in use in Sarawak.

Article 19

    1. Subject to clause 9, the Federal Government may, upon application by any person of or over the age of twenty-one years who is not a citizen, grant a certificate of naturalisation to that person if satisfied...
      (ii) (c) that he has an adequate knowledge of the Malay language.

    2. Subject to clause 9, the Federal Government may, in such special circumstances as it thinks fit, upon application made by any person of or over the age of twenty-one years who is not a citizen, grant a certificate of naturalisation to that person if satisfied...

      (c) that he has an adequate knowledge of the Malay language.

Article 152

    1. The national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as Parliament may by law provide, provided that:
      (a) no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using, otherwise than for official purposes, or from teaching or learning any other language; and
      (b) nothing in this clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.

    2. Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 1, for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, the English language may be used in both Houses of Parliament, in the Legislative Assembly of every state and for all other official purposes.

    3. Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 1, for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, the authoritative texts:

      (a) of all bills to be introduced or amended thereto to be moved in either House of Parliament, and (b) of all acts of Parliament and all subsidiary legislation issued by the Federal Government,
    shall be in the English language.

    4. Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 1, for a period of ten years after Merdeka Day, and thereafter until Parliament otherwise provides, all proceedings in the Federal Court or a High Court shall be in the English language:
    Provided that, if the Court and counsel on both sides agree, evidence taken in the language spoken by the witness need not be translated into or recorded in English.

    5. Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 1, until Parliament otherwise provides, all proceedings in subordinate courts other than the taking of evidence, shall be in the English language.

Article 161

    1. No act of Parliament terminating or restricting the use of the English language for any of the purposes mentioned in clauses 2 to 5 of Article 152 shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language in any case mentioned in clause 2 of this article until ten years after Malaysia Day.

    2. Clause 1 applies:

      (a) to the use of the English language in either House of Parliament by a member for or from the State of Sabah or Sarawak; and
      (b) to the use of the English language for proceedings in the High Court in Borneo or in a subordinate court in the State of Sabah or Sarawak, or for such proceedings in the Federal Court as are mentioned in clause 4; and
      (c) to the use of the English language in the State of Sabah or Sarawak in the Legislative Assembly or for other official purposes, including the official purposes of the Federal Government.

    3. Without prejudice to clause 1, no such act of Parliament as is there mentioned shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language for proceedings in the High Court of Borneo or for such proceedings in the Federal Court as mentioned in clause 4, until the act or the relevant provision of it has been approved by enactments of the legislatures of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, and no such act shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language in the State of Sabah or Sarawak in any other case mentioned in paragraph (b) or (c) of clause 2, until the act or the relevant provision of it has been approved by an enactment of the legislature of the state.

    4. The proceedings in the Federal Court referred to in clauses 2 and 3 are any proceedings on appeal from the High Court in Borneo or a judge thereof, and any proceedings under clause 2 of Article 128 for the determination of a question which has arisen in proceedings before the High Court in Borneo or a subordinate court in the State of Sabah or Sarawak.

    5. Notwithstanding anything in Article 152, in the State of Sabah or Sarawak, a native language in current use in the state may be used in native courts or for any code of native law and custom, and in the case of Sarawak, until otherwise provided by enactment of the Legislature, may be used by a member addressing the Legislative Assembly or any committee thereof.

Article 161E

    2. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution without the concurrence of the Yang di-Perthua Negeri of the State of Sabah or Sarawak or each of the States of Sabah and Sarawak concerned, if the amendment is such as to affect the operation of the Constitution as regards any of the following matters...
      (d) religion in the state, the use in the state or in Parliament of any language and the special treatment of natives of the state;

       

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