Courts and Constitutional Adjudication in Contemporary Malaysia and Singapore

This paper explores constitutional adjudication in the contemporary constitutional contexts of Malaysia and Singapore. It focuses on judicial decisionmaking in these post-colonial constitutional systems on issues engaging fundamental liberties and judicial articulation of the basic structure of these constitutions. The role of the courts can only properly be understood by situating their judgments in the wider political and historical context of these dominant ruling party states. The weight of executive dominance in these developing democracies has meant that the political branches have had little incentive to subordinate themselves willingly to principles of legality. Institutional arrangements of power in these states highlight the significance, and the fragility, of the judicial role in upholding and negotiating the constitutional boundaries of power.