Malaysia: Federal - State Conflicts
The implementation of international commitments is particularly challenging in Malaysia because of the jurisdictional roles that the Constitution allocates to the federal and state governments. While the federal government has responsibility for formulating and overseeing general environmental policy, the state governments have jurisdiction over most natural resources, such as land, water and forests. On some matters, the Constitution calls for the federal and state governments to share legislative competence, as it is the case with the protection of wildlife. The Constitution also provides for the Federal Parliament enacting legislation on behalf of the states, provided that the latter give their consent.
The complex federal-state relations imposed by the Constitution requires close cooperation between the two levels of government. In order to manage these relations, Ministries at the federal level must closely consult with state agencies and departments in the process of drafting national environmental laws and policies so that they are not contradictory. In almost all instances, officials from the state government agencies participate in national steering committees and other coordinating bodies established to oversee the implementation of MEAs.
Source: United Nations University. Regional and National Approaches in Asia and the Pacific: Inter-linkages: Synergies and Coordination among Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Policy Brief, Global Environment Information Centre, United Nations University, Tokyo, January 2002.