Malaysia has a complex federal political system, with extensive
local power still in the hands of nine hereditary sultans, who elect
the head of state (entitled HM the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) every
five years from among their number. There are 13 states plus two
'Federal Territories' (Kuala Lumpur and the island of Labuan).
Legislative power in the hands of the bicameral parliament comprising
the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), with 192 members directly
elected for a five year term, and the 70-strong Dewan Negara, or
Senate, of whom 40 members are appointed by the Head of State and
30 members elected by the country's 13 regional assemblies.
Executive power is held by the Prime Minister, who is formally appointed
by the head of state but in practice the leader of the largest party
in the Dewan Rakyat. The Prime Minister governs with the assistance
of an appointed ministerial cabinet.