LAWS OF MALAYSIA
REPRINT
Act 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS
ACT 1956
Incorporating all amendments up to 1 January 2006
PUBLISHED BY
THE COMMISSIONER OF LAW REVISION, MALAYSIA
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE REVISION OF LAWS ACT 1968
IN COLLABORATION WITH
PERCETAKAN NASIONAL MALAYSIA BHD
2006
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Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS ACT 1956
First enacted
... ... ... ... ... ... 1956 (Ord. No. 58 of
1956)
Revised
... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1988 (Act 359 w.e.f.
1 December 1988)
PREVIOUS REPRINT
First Reprint
... ... ... ... ...
2001
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Government Proceedings
LAWS OF MALAYSIA
Act 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS ACT 1956
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
PART I
PRELIMINARY
Section
1.
Short title and application
2.
Interpretation
PART II
SUBSTANTIVE LAW
3.
Right of the Government to sue
4.
Claims enforceable by proceedings against Government
5.
Liability of the Government in tort
6.
Limits of liability of the Government
7.
Savings of acts done in exercise of public duties
8.
Public nuisances
9.
Public, religious, social or charitable trusts
10.
Priority of Government debts
11.
Sureties to be sued as principals
12.
Provisions as to industrial property
13.
Application of law as to indemnity, contribution and contributory
negligence
14.
Provisions relating to the armed forces
15.
Saving in respect of acts done under prerogative and statutory powers
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ACT 359
PART III
JURISDICTION AND PROCEDURE
The High Court
Section
16.
Civil proceedings in the High Court
Sessions Court
17.
Civil proceedings in the Sessions Court
General
18.
Application of written law relating to procedure
19.
Summary application to the High Court in certain revenue matters
20.
Interpleader
21.
Parties to proceedings by and against the Federal Government
22.
Parties to proceedings by and against a State Government
23.
Suits in the name of deceased persons
24.
Appearance of law officers
25.
Appearance of public officers
26.
Service of documents
27.
Removal of proceedings in the High Court or Subordinate Courts
28.
Removal and transfer of proceedings
29.
Nature of relief
30.
Appeals and stay of execution
PART IV
COSTS, JUDGMENTS AND EXECUTION
31.
Costs
32.
Interest on debts, damages and costs
33.
Satisfaction of orders against the Government
34.
Execution by the Government
35.
Attachment of moneys payable by the Government
PART V
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL
Miscellaneous
36.
Discovery
Exclusion of proceedings in rem against the Government
37.
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Government Proceedings
Section
38.
Limitation of actions
39.
Application to the Government of certain statutory provisions
(Omitted)
40.
41.
Proceedings in courts other than the High Court and Sessions Court
Supplemental
42.
Rules of court
43.
Pending proceedings
44.
Financial provisions
45.
Savings
(Omitted)
46.
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ACT 359
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Government Proceedings
LAWS OF MALAYSIA
Act 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS ACT 1956
An Act relating to proceedings by and against the Federal Government
and the Governments of the States.
[Peninsular Malaysia--1 April 1958, L.N. 107/1958;
Sabah and Sarawak--25 February 1965, L.N. 67/1965]
PART I
PRELIMINARY
Short title and application
1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Government Proceedings Act
1956 and shall have effect throughout Malaysia.
(2) (Omitted).
Interpretation
2. (1) Any reference in this Act shall, unless the context otherwise
requires, include a reference to rules of court made for the purposes
of this Act.
(2) In this Act, except in so far as the context otherwise requires
or it is otherwise expressly provided--
"civil proceedings" means any proceeding whatsoever of a civil
nature before a court and includes proceedings for the recovery of
fines and penalties and an application at any stage of a proceeding,
but does not include proceedings under Chapter VIII of the Specific
Relief Act 1950 [Act 137], or such proceedings as would in England
be brought on the Crown side of the Queen's Bench Division;
" G o v e r n m e n t " includes the Federal Government and the
Governments of the States;
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"High Court" means the High Court in Malaya and the High
Court in Borneo or either of them, as the case may require;
"Land law" means the National Land Code [Act 56 of 1965] and
the corresponding law in force in any State;
"law officer" means the Attorney General and the Solicitor
General and, in respect of proceedings by or against the Government
of a State or to which a State officer is a party, includes the Legal
Adviser of such State, and, in the case of the States of Sabah and
Sarawak, the State Attorney General;
*"Legal Adviser" means the Legal Adviser of a State;
"legal officer" includes a law officer, the Parliamentary Draftsman
and a Federal Counsel, and, in the case of the States of Sabah and
Sarawak, a law officer and a legally qualified member of the
Federal or State Attorney General's Chambers, authorized by a
law officer in accordance with section 24;
"officer", in relation to a Government, includes a person in the
permanent or temporary employment of such Government and
accordingly (but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing)
includes a Minister of such Government;
"order" includes a judgment, decree, rule, award or declaration;
"prescribed" means prescribed by or under rules of court made
for the purposes of this Act;
"proceedings against the Government" includes a claim by way
of set-off or counterclaim in proceedings by such Government;
"statutory duty" means any duty imposed by any written law;
"State land" has the meaning assigned to it in the Land law;
"subordinate Court" means a Sessions Court and any Magistrate's
Court.
(3) Any reference in Part IV or V to civil proceedings by or
against the Government, or to civil proceedings to which the
*NOTE--The definition of "Legal Adviser" is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak­see
L.N. 67/1965.
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Government is a party, shall be construed as including a reference
to civil proceedings to which any officer of a Government as such
is a party:
Provided that the Federal Government shall not for the purposes
of Parts IV and V be deemed to be a party to any proceedings by
reason only that they are brought by the Attorney General upon
the relation of some other person.
PART II
SUBSTANTIVE LAW
Right of the Government to sue
3.  Subject to this Act and of any written law where the Government
has a claim against any person which would, if such claim had
arisen between subject and subject, afford ground fo civil proceedings,
the claim may be enforced by proceedings taken by or on behalf
of the Government for that purpose in accordance with this Act.
Claims enforceable by proceedings against Government
4.  Subject to this Act and of any written law, any claim against
the Government which--
(a) is founded on the use or occupation or the right to the
use or occupation of State land; or
(b) arises out of the revenue laws; or
(c) arises out of any contract made by the authority of the
Government which would, if such claim had arisen between
subject and subject, afford ground for civil proceedings;
or
(d) is a claim (other than a claim in tort) for damages or
compensation not included in the preceding paragraphs
which might lawfully be enforced by civil proceedings
as between subject and subject,
shall be enforceable by proceedings against the Government for
that purpose in accordance with this Act.
Liability of the Government in tort
5.  Subject to this Act, the Government shall be liable for any
wrongful act done or any neglect or default committed by any
public officer in the same manner and to the same extent as that
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in which a principal, being a private person, is liable for any
wrongful act done, or any neglect or default committed by his
agent, and for the purposes of this section and without prejudice
to the generality thereof, any public officer acting or purporting
in good faith to be acting in pursuance of a duty imposed by law
shall be deemed to be the agent of and to be acting under the
instructions of the Government.
Limits of liability of the Government
6. (1) No proceedings shall lie against the Government by virtue
of section 5 in respect of any act, neglect or default of any public
officer, unless proceedings for damages in respect of such act,
neglect or default would have lain against such officer personally.
(2) Any written law which negatives or limits the amount of the
liability of any public officer in respect of any act, neglect or
default committed by that officer shall, in the case of proceedings
against the Government under section 5 in respect of such act,
neglect or default of such officer, apply in relation to the Government
as it would have applied in relation to such officer if the proceedings
against the Government had been proceedings against such officer.
(3) No proceedings shall lie against the Government by virtue
of section 5 in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by
any person while discharging or purporting to discharge any
r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of a judicial nature vested in him, or any
responsibilities which he has in connection with the execution of
judicial process.
(4) No proceedings shall lie against the Government by virtue
of section 5 in respect of any act, neglect or default of any public
officer, unless that officer was at the material time employed by
the Government and paid in respect of his duties as an officer of
the Government wholly out of the revenues of the Government,
or any fund certified by the appropriate financial officer for the
purposes of this subsection or was at the material time holding an
office in respect of which the appropriate financial officer certifies
that the holder thereof would normally be so paid.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) the expression "appropriate
financial officer" means, in respect of the Federal Government, the
Minister of Finance, and in respect of the Government of a State,
the State Financial Officer, and, in the case of the States of Sabah
and Sarawak, the State Minister responsible for finance.
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Savings of acts done in exercise of public duties
7. (1) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act to the
contrary no proceedings, other than proceedings for breach of
contract, shall lie against the Government on account of anything
done or omitted to be done or refused to be done by the Government
or any public officer in exercise of the public duties of the
Government.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the expression "exercise
of the public duties" includes--
(a) the construction, maintenance, diversion and abandonment
of railways, roads, bridle-paths or bridges;
(b) the construction, maintenance and abandonment of schools,
hospitals or other public buildings;
(c) the construction, maintenance and abandonment of drainage,
flood prevention and reclamation works; and
(d) the maintenance, diversion and abandonment of the
channels of rivers and waterways.
(3) Nothing in this section shall prevent the bringing of any suit
for damages or compensation arising out of negligence or trespass
in the execution of any works of construction or maintenance
undertaken by the Government in the exercise of the said public
duties.
(4) Nothing in this Act shall subject the Government, in its
capacity as a highway authority, to any greater liability than that
to which a local authority is subject in that capacity.
Public nuisances
8. (1) In the case of a public nuisance the Attorney General, or
two or more persons having obtained the consent in writing of the
Attorney General, may institute a suit, though no special damage
has been caused, for a declaration and injunction or for such other
relief as may be appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or otherwise
affect any right of suit which may exist independently of its provisions.
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*(3) The powers of the Attorney General under this section
shall, subject to any directions of the Attorney General, be exercisable
by the State Attorney General.
Public, religious, social or charitable trusts
9. (1) In the case of any alleged breach of any express or constructive
trust for public, religious, social or charitable purposes, or where
the direction of the court is deemed necessary for the administration
of any such trust, the Attorney General or two or more persons
having an interest in the trust and having obtained the consent in
writing of the Attorney General, may institute a suit or be joined
as a party in any existing suit on behalf of the Government or the
public for the purpose of--
(a) asserting any interest or right in the trust property;
(b) removing any trustee;
(c) appointing a new trustee;
(d) vesting any property in a trustee;
(e) directing accounts and inquiries;
(f) declaring what proportion of the trust property or of the
interest therein shall be allocated to any particular object
of the trust;
(g) authorizing the whole or any part of the trust property to
be let, sold, mortgaged, charged or exchanged;
**(h) settling a scheme; and
(i) obtaining such further or other relief as the nature of the
case may require.
( 2 ) N o suit claiming any of the reliefs specified in
subsection (1) shall be instituted in respect of any such trust as
is therein referred to except in conformity with that subsection.
(3) Subject to subsections (1) and (2), all suits and proceedings
in any court relating to any such trust as is therein referred to or
otherwise in which the Government is interested, or in which the
*NOTE--Subsection 8(3) is applicable to Sabah and Sarawak only­see L.N. 67/1965.
**NOTE--Paragraph 9(1)(h) is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak­see L.N. 67/1965.
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interests of the public are affected, or in which if brought in
England the Attorney General of England would be, or would be
made, a necessary party as plaintiff or defendant, whether by
himself or by relation of parties, shall be brought and had in the
name of the Attorney General as plaintiff or defendant; and the
Attorney General shall have and exercise therein the same rights,
duties and powers as the Attorney General of England would have
and exercise in England in similar cases so far as the circumstances
of Malaysia admit.
*(4) The powers of the Attorney General under this section
shall, in respect of any trust on the concurrent list, be exercisable
by the State Attorney General.
Priority of Government debts
10. (1) All debts due and claims owing from time to time by any
person to the Government, whether upon judgment, bond, or other
specialty, or upon simple contract or otherwise, shall be entitled
from the date of the accrual thereof, respectively, to a preference
of payment over all debts or claims of every kind which shall,
subsequent to such date, have been contracted or incurred by or
become due from such person to any other person whomsoever.
(2) Nothing herein contained shall affect any right vested in
any person by virtue of a mortgage or charge of immovable property
duly registered in the manner provided by law for the registration
of such mortgage or charge.
Sureties to be sued as principals
11.  All sureties for persons owing money to the Government
may be sued as principals; and if the liability is several as well
as joint, they may be sued either severally or any two or more of
them may be sued together; and either separately or together with
the principal debtors, or with any one, two or more of the principal
debtors.
Provisions as to industrial property
12. (1) Where after the commencement of this Act any servant or
agent of the Government infringes a patent, or infringes a registered
trade mark, or infringes any copyright and the infringement is
*NOTE--Subsection 9(4) is applicable to Sabah and Sarawak only­see L.N. 67/1965.
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committed with the authority of the Government, then, subject to
this Act, civil proceedings in respect of the infringement shall lie
against the Government.
(2) Save as expressly provided by this section, no proceedings
shall lie against the Government by virtue of this Act in respect
of the infringement of a patent, a registered trade mark, or a
copyright.
Application of law as to indemnity, contribution and contributory
negligence
13.  Where the Government is subject to any liability by virtue
of this Part, any written law relating to indemnity, contribution
and contributory negligence shall apply in favour of or against the
Government in respect of the liability to which it is so subject as
if the Government were a private person of full age and capacity.
Provisions relating to the armed forces
14. (1) Nothing done or omitted to be done by a member of the
forces while on duty as such shall subject either him or the
Government to liability in tort for causing the death of another
person, or for causing personal injury to another person, in so far
as the death or personal injury is due to anything suffered by that
other person while he is a member of the forces if--
(a) at the time when that thing is suffered by that other
person, he is either on duty as a member of the forces
or is, though not on duty as such, on any land, premises,
ship, aircraft or vehicle for the time being used for the
purposes of the forces; and
(b) the Minister of Finance certifies that his suffering that
thing has been or will be treated as attributable to service
for the purposes of entitlement to an award under any
written law relating to the disablement or death of members
of the force of which he is a member:
Provided that this subsection shall not exempt a member of the
said forces from liability in tort in any case in which the court is
satisfied that the act or omission was not connected with the
execution of his duties as a member of those forces.
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(2) No proceedings in tort shall lie against the Government for
death or personal injury due to anything suffered by a member of
the forces if--
(a) that thing is suffered by him in consequence of the nature
or condition of any such land, premises, ship, aircraft or
vehicle as aforesaid, or in consequence of the nature or
condition of any equipment or supplies used for the purposes
of those forces; and
(b) the Minister of Finance certifies as mentioned in the
preceding subsection,
nor shall any act or omission of an officer of the Government
subject him to liability in tort for death or personal injury, in so
far as the death or personal injury is due to anything suffered by
a member of the forces being a thing as to which the conditions
aforesaid are satisfied.
(3) The Minister charged with the responsibility for Defence
and Internal Security, if satisfied that it is the fact--
(a) that a person was or was not on any particular occasion
on duty as a member of the forces; or
(b) that at any particular time any land, premises, ship, aircraft,
vehicle, equipment or supplies was or was not, or were
or were not, used for the purposes of the said forces;
may issue a certificate certifying that to be the fact; and any such
certificate shall, for the purposes of this section, be conclusive as
to the fact which it certifies.
(4) In this section the expression--
(a) "armed forces" means any armed force, whether volunteer
or otherwise, raised and maintained in Malaysia;
(b) "forces" includes the armed forces and the police force;
and
(c) "police force" means the Royal Malaysia Police and
includes any volunteer, auxiliary or special force attached
to, or coming under the jurisdiction of, that Force.
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Saving in respect of acts done under prerogative and statutory
powers
15. (1) Nothing in this Part shall extinguish or abridge any powers
or authorities which, if this Act had not been passed, would have
b e e n exercisable by virtue of the prerogative of the Yang
di-Pertuan Agong or a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri or the
Government, or any powers or authorities conferred on the Yang
di-Pertuan Agong or a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri or the
Government by any written law, and, in particular, nothing in this
Part shall extinguish or abridge any such powers or authorities,
whether in time of peace or of war, for the purpose of the defence
of the realm or of training, or maintaining the efficiency of, the
armed forces.
(2) Where in any proceedings under this Act it is material to
determine whether anything was properly done or omitted to be
done in the exercise of the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan
Agong or a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri or the Government,
the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, if satisfied that the act or omission
was necessary for any such purpose as is mentioned in the last
preceding subsection, issue a certificate to the effect that the act
or omission was necessary for that purpose; and the certificate
shall, in those proceedings, be conclusive as to the matter so
certified.
PART III
JURISDICTION AND PROCEDURE
The High Court
Civil proceedings in the High Court
16.  Subject to this Act, civil proceedings by or against the
Government as are provided by any statutory provision repealed
by this Act are hereby abolished, and all civil proceedings by or
against the Government in the High Court shall, subject to any
other written law for the time being in force, be instituted and
proceeded with in accordance with this Act and not otherwise.
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Sessions Court
Civil proceedings in the Sessions Court
17. (1) Subject to this Act and of any written law limiting the
jurisdiction of a Sessions Court (whether by reference to the
subject matter of the proceedings to be brought or the amount
sought to be recovered in the proceedings or otherwise) any civil
proceedings against the Government may be instituted in a Sessions
Court.
(2) Any proceedings by or against the Government in a Sessions
Court shall be instituted and proceeded with in accordance with
this Act and not otherwise.
General
Application of written law relating to procedure
18. Subject to this Act, the written law relating to procedure shall
apply to civil proceedings by or against the Government in the
same way as to suits between subject and subject.
Summary application to the High Court in certain revenue
matters
19. (1) Subject to and in accordance with rules of court, the
Government may apply in a summary manner to the High Court
for the payment of any duty, penalty or other sum payable under
the written law, or for the delivery of any accounts required to be
delivered, or the furnishing of any information required to be
furnished, by any written law.
(2) Rules of court made for the purposes of this section may
provide that judgment may be given upon an affidavit by a duly
authorized officer when the facts are not in dispute upon a written
application to the court by such officer.
(3) For the purposes of this section the expression "duly authorized
officer" means an officer of any Government department whose
duty it is to administer or enforce the written law in respect of
which such application as is referred to in subsection (2) is made
duly authorized by the head of such department for the purpose.
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Interpleader
20.  The Government may obtain relief by way of interpleader
proceedings, and may be made a party to such proceedings, in the
same manner in which a subject may obtain relief by way of such
proceedings or be made a party thereto, and may be made a party
to such proceedings notwithstanding that the application for relief
is made by a sheriff or other like officer; and all rules of court
relating to interpleader proceedings shall, subject to this Act, have
effect accordingly.
Parties to proceedings by and against the Federal Government
21. (1) Civil proceedings by or against the Federal Government
shall be instituted by or against, as the case may be, the Government
of Malaysia.
(2) Where any civil proceedings against the Federal Government
are instituted, an application may at any stage of the proceedings
be made to the court by or on behalf of the Attorney General to
have the Government of such State as may be specified in the
application substituted for or joined with the Federal Government
as defendant to the proceedings.
(3) Upon any such application as is mentioned in the last preceding
subsection or in subsection 22(2) the court may if it thinks fit make
an order granting the application on such terms as the court thinks
just; and on such an order being made the proceedings shall continue
as if they had been commenced against the Government specified
in that behalf in the order.
Parties to proceedings by and against a State Government
22. (1) Civil proceedings by or against the Government of a State
shall be instituted by or against the Government of such State.
(2) Where any civil proceedings against the Government of a
State are instituted, an application may at any stage of the proceedings
be made to the court by or on behalf of the Legal Adviser of such
State, or, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, the State
Attorney General to have the Federal Government or the Government
of such other State as may be specified in the application substituted
for or joined with the Government of such State as defendant to
the proceedings.
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Suits in the name of deceased persons
23. (1) Suits by the Government against deceased persons may be
brought in the names of such deceased persons; and on the death
after the commencement of any such suit by the Government of
any defendant named in such suit, the suit shall not abate, nor shall
the name of the deceased defendant be struck out; but the personal
representatives, or any of the next of kin, of the deceased defendant
or the official administrator, to be appointed as is provided in
subsection (2), shall on application ex parte be allowed to intervene
to defend, or continue the defence of, the suit as the deceased
defendant might have done; and such personal representatives, or
next of kin, or official administrator, on entering an appearance,
shall give notice in writing thereof to the Government, and shall
be served with process as the defendant might have been if he had
lived.
(2) If none of the executors named in the will of a deceased
defendant, or none of the next of kin of such deceased defendant
take a grant of probate of such will or of letters of administration
to the estate within one month from the death of such defendant,
the Court may, on the application of the Government, and on
notice to the executors or next of kin, or to such of them as are
known to be in Malaysia, appoint an official administrator to the
estate for the purposes of the suit; and such administrator may
defend or continue the defence of the suit.
(3) The Court may, of its own motion or on the application of
a n y such personal representative or next of kin or official
administrator, grant time in any such suit, and otherwise make
such arrangements, and impose such terms and conditions for the
continuance of the suit as to the Court seem right to secure justice
to the parties.
Appearance of law officers
24. (1) Notwithstanding any written law--
(a) in civil proceedings by or against the Federal Government
a law officer, the Parliamentary Draftsman or a Federal
Counsel, or, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak,
a legally qualified member of the Federal or State Attorney
General's Chambers authorized by the Attorney General
for the purpose; and
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ACT 359
(b) in civil proceedings by or against the Government of a
State a law officer, the Parliamentary Draftsman or a
Federal Counsel authorized by the Legal Adviser of such
State, and, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak,
the State Attorney General or any legally qualified member
of the State Attorney General's Chambers authorized by
the State Attorney General for the purpose,
may appear as advocate on behalf of such Government and may
make and do all appearances, acts and applications in respect of
such proceedings on behalf of the Government.
(2) Notwithstanding any written law in civil proceedings to
which a public officer is a party--
(a) by virtue of his office; or
*(b) in his personal capacity, if the Attorney General certifies
in writing that it is in the public interest that such officer
should be represented by a legal officer,
a legal officer may appear as advocate on behalf of such officer
and shall be deemed to be the recognized agent of such officer by
whom all appearances, acts and applications in respect of such
proceedings may be made or done on behalf of such officer.
(3) An advocate and solicitor of the High Court duly retained
by the Attorney General in the case of civil proceedings by or
against the Federal Government or a Federal officer, or by the
Legal Adviser, or, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak,
by the State Attorney General in the case of civil proceedings by
or against the Government of a State or a State officer, may appear
as advocate on behalf of such Government or officer in such
proceedings.
(4) In civil proceedings to which the Attorney General is a
party under section 8 or 9, a law officer, the Parliamentary Draftsman
or a Federal Counsel authorized by the Attorney General for the
purpose, and, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, a
legal officer, may appear as advocate and make and do all appearances,
acts and applications in respect of such proceedings on behalf of
the Attorney General.
*NOTE--For Sabah and Sarawak substitute the following paragraph for paragraph 24(2)(b):
"(b) in his personal capacity, if--
(i) in the case of a Federal Officer, the Attorney General certifies in writing; and
(ii) in the case of a State Officer, the State Attorney General certifies in writing;
that it is in the public interest that such officer should be represented by a legal officer;"
­see L.N. 67/1965.
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Appearance of public officers
25. (1) Any public officer authorized by a Minister in respect of
proceedings by or against the Federal Government or by the State
Secretary, or, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, by
the State Attorney General, in respect of proceedings by or against
the Government of a State, to act for such Government in respect
of any civil proceedings may appear as advocate on behalf of such
Government and shall be deemed to be the recognized agent of
such Government by whom all appearances, acts and applications
in respect of such proceedings may be made or done on behalf of
such Government.
(2) An authorization under subsection (1) may be special in
respect of any particular proceedings or general in respect of all
proceedings or in respect of all proceedings of a particular class.
Service of documents
26.  Without prejudice to sections 24 and 25, all documents required
to be served on the Government for the purpose of or in connection
with any civil proceedings by or against the Government may be
served, in the case of proceedings by or against the Federal
Government, on the Attorney General or such other officer as may
be designated in that behalf, either generally or specially, by the
Attorney General by notification in the Gazette, and, in the case
of proceedings by or against the Government of a State, on the
State Secretary, and, in the case of the States of Sabah and Sarawak,
on the State Attorney General of such State.
Removal of proceedings in the High Court or Subordinate
Courts
27. *(1) If at any stage in any civil proceedings in the High Court
to which the Government is a party an application in that behalf
is made by the Government to the Court and there is produced to
the Court a certificate of the Attorney General to the effect that
it is in the public interest or for any other reason desirable that
such proceedings should be removed to the High Court in Kuala
Lumpur the Court shall order the proceedings to be removed
accordingly.
*NOTE--In subsection 27(1), for Sabah and Sarawak insert the word "Federal" before the word
"Government" in each case and substitute the words "Kota Kinabalu" and "Kuching" respectively
for the word "Kuala Lumpur"­see L.N. 67/1965.
22
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ACT 359
*(1A) If, at any stage in any civil proceedings in the High Court
to which the State Government is a party, an application in that
behalf is made by the State Government to the Court and there is
produced to the Court a certificate of the State Attorney General
to the effect that it is in the public interest or for any other reason
desirable that such proceedings should be removed to the High
Court in Kota Kinabalu/Kuching the Court shall order the proceedings
to be removed accordingly.
**(2) If at any stage in any civil proceedings in a subordinate
Court to which the Government is a party an application in that
behalf is made by the Government to the High Court and there is
produced to the Court a certificate of the Attorney General to the
effect that it is in the public interest or for any other reason
desirable that such proceedings should be removed into the High
Court in Kuala Lumpur or in such other place as may be specified
in such certificate the Court shall order the proceedings to be
removed to the High Court accordingly.
***(2A) If, at any stage in any civil proceedings in a subordinate
Court to which the State Government is a party, an application in
that behalf is made by the State Government to the High Court and
there is produced to the Court a certificate of the State Attorney
General to the effect that it is in the public interest or for any other
reason desirable that such proceedings should be removed to the
High Court in Kota Kinabalu/Kuching or in such other place as
may be specified in such certificate, the Court shall order the
proceedings to be removed into the High Court accordingly.
(3)
Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), if it appears to
the Court that the removal of the proceedings in accordance with
those provisions is likely to occasion substantial additional expense
to any party to the proceeding other than the Government, the
Court may refuse to grant the application unless the Government
enters into an undertaking that it will, on or before such date as
the Court may specify, pay to such other party such sum of money
as in the opinion of the Court is necessary to cover the additional
expense likely to be so occasioned to such party.
*NOTE--Subsection 27(1A) is applicable to Sabah and Sarawak only­see L.N. 67/1965.
**NOTE--In subsection 27(2), for Sabah and Sarawak insert the word "Federal" before the word
"Government" in each case and substitute the words "Kota Kinabalu" and "Kuching" respectively
for the word "Kuala Lumpur"­see L.N. 67/1965.
***NOTE--Subsection 27(2A) is applicable to Sabah and Sarawak only­see L.N. 67/1965.
NOTE--In subsection 27(3), for Sabah and Sarawak substitute "subsections (1), (1A), (2) and (2A)"
for "subsections (1) and (2)"­see L.N. 67/1965.
23
Government Proceedings
(4) The amount of such sum of money shall be ascertained in
such manner as the Court may direct.
(5) If upon the taxation of the costs of the proceedings it appears
to the Court or Registrar that such sum of money was greater or
less than the additional expense actually incurred by the party the
Court or Registrar may in its or his discretion order that the
amount of the excess or the deficiency as the case may be, should
be repaid by the party to the Government or paid by the Government
to the party respectively and any such amount shall be recoverable
as if it were costs awarded in such proceedings to the party entitled
to receive the same but subject as aforesaid no sum or any part
thereof paid by the Government in accordance with such undertaking
shall be recoverable by the Government as costs or otherwise
whatever the event of the proceedings.
Removal and transfer of proceedings
28.  Without prejudice to the rights of the Government under
section 27 any written law relating to the removal or transfer of
proceedings from a subordinate Court to the High Court or the
transfer of proceedings from the High Court to a subordinate
Court, shall apply in relation to proceedings against the Government:
Provided that an order for the transfer to a subordinate Court
of any proceedings against the Government in the High Court shall
not be made without the consent of the Government and shall not
be conditional upon the giving of security by the Government.
Nature of relief
29. (1) In any civil proceedings by or against the Government the
court shall, subject to this Act, have power to make all such orders
as it has power to make in proceedings between subjects, and
otherwise to give such appropriate relief as the case may require:
Provided that--
(a) where in any proceedings against the Government any
such relief is sought as might in proceedings between
subjects be granted by way of injunction or specific
performance, the court shall not grant an injunction or
make an order for specific performance, but may in lieu
thereof make an order declaratory of the rights of the
parties; and
24
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
(b) in any proceedings against the Government for the recovery
of land or other property the court shall not make an
order for the recovery of the land or the delivery of the
property, but may in lieu thereof make an order declaring
that the plaintiff is entitled as against the Government to
the land or property or to the possession thereof.
(2) The court shall not in any civil proceedings grant any injunction
or make any order against an officer of the Government if the
effect of granting the injunction or making the order would be to
give any relief against the Government which could not have been
obtained in proceedings against the Government.
Appeals and stay of execution
30. Subject to this Act, all written laws and rules of court relating
t o appeals and stay of execution shall, with any necessary
m o d i f i c a t i o n s , apply to civil proceedings by or against the
Government as they apply to proceedings between subjects.
PART IV
COSTS, JUDGMENTS AND EXECUTION
Costs
31. (1) Subject to this section, in any civil proceedings or arbitration
to which the Government or a public officer is a party the court
shall have power to order costs for or against such Government
or public officer in the same manner and upon the same principles
as in proceedings between subject and subject:
Provided that--
(a) in the case of proceedings to which by reason of any
written law or otherwise the Attorney General or any
officer of Government as such is authorized or required
to be made a party, the court shall have regard to the
nature of the proceedings and the circumstances in which
the Attorney General or such officer appears and may in
the exercise of its discretion order any other party to the
proceedings to pay the costs of the Attorney General or
such officer whatever may be the result of the proceedings;
and
25
Government Proceedings
(b) nothing in this section shall affect the power of the court
to order, or any written law requiring, the payment of
costs out of any particular fund or property or any provision
of any written law expressly relieving the Attorney General
or such officer of the liability for costs.
*(2) In any civil proceedings before any court in which a legal
officer appears as an advocate under this Act, and costs are awarded
to or against the Attorney General, or to or against the party on
whose behalf such legal officer appears, such costs shall include
such items, including fees for drawing, for getting up the case and
for attendances, as would be included within the meaning of the
word "costs" in any written law if an advocate and solicitor of the
High Court had appeared.
**(3) Such costs shall be in accordance with any scale of fees
prescribed from time to time to be chargeable by advocates and
solicitors and may be taxed in accordance with any written law for
the time being in force for the taxation of the fees and costs of
such advocates and solicitors.
( 4 ) I n any such civil proceedings as are referred to in
subsection (2) in which two legal officers appear as advocates and
the court certifies for two counsel, costs shall be payable in respect
of the services of both such legal officers.
(5) Costs awarded in accordance with this section to a party for
whom any of the legal officers referred to in subsection (2) appear
as advocate shall, when recovered, be paid into the Treasury.
(6) A legal officer shall not be personally liable for costs in any
proceedings under this Act.
(7) In this section and in section 33 the word "court" includes
an arbitrator.
Interest on debts, damages and costs
32. (1) Any written law relating to the payment of interest on
judgment debts, damages or costs shall apply to judgments given
in proceedings by or against the Government.
*NOTE--In subsection 31(2), for Sabah and Sarawak delete the words "and solicitor"­see
L.N. 67/1965.
**NOTE--In subsection 31(3), for Sabah and Sarawak delete the words "and solicitor"­see
L.N. 67/1965.
26
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
(2) This section shall apply both in relation to proceedings
pending at the commencement of this Act and in relation to
proceedings instituted thereafter.
Satisfaction of orders against the Government
33. (1) Where in any civil proceedings by or against the Government
or in any proceedings under Chapter VIII of the Specific Relief
Act 1950, or in any such proceedings as would in England be
brought on the Crown side of the Queen's Bench Division, or in
connection with any arbitration to which the Government is a
party, any order (including an order for costs) is made by any court
in favour of any person against the Government or against an
officer of the Government as such, the proper officer of the court
shall, on an application in that behalf made by or on behalf of that
person at any time after the expiration of twenty-one days from
the date of the order or, in case the order provides for the payment
of costs and the costs require to be taxed, at any time after the
costs have been taxed, whichever is the later, issue to that person
a certificate in the prescribed form containing particulars of the
order:
Provided that, if the court so directs, a separate certificate shall
be issued with respect to the costs (if any) ordered to be paid to
the applicant.
(2) A copy of any certificate issued under this section may be
served by the person in whose favour the order is made upon the
person for the time being named in the record as the advocate for
the Government or for the Government department or officer
concerned.
(3) If the order provides for the payment of any money by way
of damages or otherwise, or of any costs, the certificate shall state
the amount so payable, and the appropriate Government shall,
subject as hereinafter provided, pay to the person entitled or to his
solicitor the amount appearing by the certificate to be due to him
together with the interest, if any, lawfully due thereon:
Provided that the court by which any such order as aforesaid is
made or any court to which an appeal against the order lies may
direct that, pending an appeal or otherwise, payment of the whole
of any amount so payable, or any part thereof, shall be suspended,
and if the certificate has not been issued may order any such
directions to be inserted therein.
27
Government Proceedings
(4) Save as aforesaid no execution or attachment or process in
the nature thereof shall be issued out of any court for enforcing
payment by the Government of any such money or costs as aforesaid,
and no person shall be individually liable under any order for the
payment by the Government or any officer of the Government as
such, of any such money or costs.
(5) This section shall apply both in relation to proceedings
pending at the commencement of this Act and in relation to
proceedings instituted thereafter.
Execution by the Government
34. (1) Subject to this Act, any order made in favour of the
Government against any person in any civil proceedings to which
the Government is a party may be enforced in the same manner
as an order made in an action between subjects, and not otherwise.
(2) This section shall apply both in relation to proceedings
pending at the commencement of this Act and in relation to
proceedings instituted thereafter.
(3) Nothing in this section shall affect any procedure which
immediately before the commencement of this Act was available
for enforcing an order made in favour of the Government in
proceedings brought by the Government for the recovery of any
fine or penalty, or the forfeiture or condemnation of any goods,
or of any ship or any share in a ship.
Attachment of moneys payable by the Government
35. (1) Where any money is payable by the Government to some
person who, under any order of any court, is liable to pay any
money to any other person, and that other person would, if the
money so payable by the Government were money payable by a
subject, be entitled under rules of court to obtain an order for the
attachment thereof as a debt due or accruing due, or an order for
the appointment of a sequestrator or receiver to receive the money
on his behalf, the High Court may, subject to this Act and in
accordance with rules of court, make an order restraining the first-
mentioned person from receiving that money and directing payment
thereof to that other person, or to the sequestrator or receiver.
28
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
(2) No such order shall be made in respect of any money which
is subject to any written law prohibiting or restricting assignment
or charging or taking in execution.
(3) No such order shall be made unless and until there shall
have been produced in court the written consent to such order, of
the Minister of Finance in the case of an order against the Federal
Government, or of the Chief Minister in the case of an order
against a State Government.
(4) For the purposes of this section the word "Government"
shall be deemed to include any public officer who in his official
capacity has any money in his custody or control.
(5) The preceding subsections shall, so far as they relate to
forms of relief falling within the jurisdiction of a subordinate
Court, have effect in relation to subordinate Courts as they have
effect in relation to the High Court.
PART V
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL
Miscellaneous
Discovery
36. (1) Subject to and in accordance with rules of court--
(a) in any civil proceedings in the High Court or a subordinate
Court to which the Government is a party, the Government
may be required by the court to make discovery of
documents and produce documents for inspection; and
(b) in any such proceedings as aforesaid, the Government
may be required by the court to answer interrogatories:
Provided that this section shall be without prejudice to any other
written law, or to any rule of law which authorizes or requires the
withholding of any document or the refusal to answer any question
on the ground that the disclosure of the document or the answering
of the question would be injurious to the public interest.
(2) Any order of the court made under the powers conferred by
paragraph (1)(b) shall direct by what officer of the Government
the interrogatories are to be answered.
29
Government Proceedings
( 3 ) W i t h o u t prejudice to the proviso to the preceding
subsection (1), any rules made for the purposes of this section
shall be such as to secure that the existence of a document will
not be disclosed if, in the opinion of the persons hereinafter mentioned,
it would be injurious to the public interest to disclose the existence
thereof. Such persons are--
(a) in respect of the Federal Government, a Minister;
(b) in respect of the Government of a State, the Chief Minister
of such State:
Provided that it shall not be deemed injurious to the public
interest to disclose the existence of any document by reason only
of the fact that such disclosure would or might lead or tend to the
success of the opposite party in the proceedings.
Exclusion of proceedings in rem against the Government
37. (1) Nothing in this Act shall authorize proceedings in rem in
respect of any claim against the Government, or the arrest, detention
or sale of any ships or aircraft, or of any cargo or other property
belonging to the Government, or give to any person any lien on
such ship, aircraft, cargo or other property.
(2) Where proceedings in rem have been instituted in the High
Court or in a subordinate Court against any such ship, aircraft,
cargo or other property, the court may, if satisfied, either on an
application by the plaintiff for an order under this subsection or
an application by the Government to set aside the proceedings,
that the proceedings were so instituted by the plaintiff in the
reasonable belief that the ship, aircraft, cargo or other property did
not belong to the Government, order that the proceedings shall be
treated as if they were in personam duly instituted against the
Government in accordance with this Act, or duly instituted against
any other person whom the court regards as the proper person to
be sued in the circumstances, and that the proceedings shall continue
accordingly.
(3) An order under subsection (2) may be made upon such
terms, if any, as the court thinks just; and where the court makes
any such order it may make such consequential orders as the court
thinks expedient.
30
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
Limitation of actions
38.  Any written law relating to the limitation of time for bringing
proceedings against public authorities may be relied upon by the
Government as a defence in any civil proceedings against the
Government.
Application to the Government of certain statutory provisions
39.  This Act shall not prejudice the right of the Government to
take advantage of any written law although not named therein; and
in any civil proceedings against the Government any written law
which could, if the proceedings were between subjects, be relied
upon by the defendant as a defence to the proceedings, whether
in whole or in part, or otherwise, may, subject to any express
provision to the contrary, be so relied upon by the Government.
(Omitted).
40.
Proceedings in courts other than the High Court and Sessions
Court
41. (1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by order make such
provision as appears to him to be expedient with respect to civil
proceedings by or against the Government in any court not being
the High Court or a Sessions Court.
(2) An order made under this section may in particular--
(a) define the jurisdiction of the court to which the order
relates in civil proceedings by or against the Government;
and
(b) apply, in relation to civil proceedings by or against the
Government in the said court, any provisions of this Act
which would not otherwise apply in relation to those
p r o c e e d i n g s with such additions, exceptions and
modifications as appear to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to
be expedient.
(3) Any such order shall have effect notwithstanding any provision
made by or under any written law with respect to the court in
question; and any such order may provide for amending or revoking
any provision so made as aforesaid.
31
Government Proceedings
(4) An order made under this section may be varied or revoked
by a further order made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong thereunder.
(5) An order made under this section shall be published in the
Gazette and, as soon as possible thereafter, shall be laid before
Parliament and, if at the next meeting of the Parliament after any
such order is laid before it a resolution is passed annulling such
order or any part thereof, the whole order shall thenceforth be
void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously
done or omitted to be done thereunder, as from the date of notification
in the Gazette of the passing of such resolution.
Supplemental
Rules of court
42. (1) Any power to make rules of court shall include power to
make rules for the purpose of giving effect to this Act, and any
such rules may contain provisions to have effect in relation to any
proceedings by or against the Government in substitution for or
by way of addition to any of the rules applying to proceedings
between subjects.
(2) Provision shall be made by rules of court with respect to the
following matters--
(a) for securing that where any civil proceedings are brought
against the Government in accordance with this Act the
plaintiff shall, before the Government is required to take
any step in the proceedings, provide the Government
with such information as the Government may reasonably
require as to the circumstances in which it is alleged that
the liability of the Government has arisen and as to the
departments and officers of the Government concerned;
(b) for providing that in the case of proceedings against the
Government the plaintiff shall not enter judgment against
the Government in default of appearance or pleading
without the leave of the court to be obtained on an
application of which notice has been given to the defendant;
(c) for excepting proceedings brought against the Government
from the operation of any rule of court providing for
summary judgment without trial, and for enabling any
such proceedings to be put in proper cases into any special
32
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
list which may be kept for the trial of short causes in
which leave to defend is given under any such rule of
court as aforesaid;
(d) for enabling evidence to be taken on commission in
proceedings by or against the Government;
(e) for providing--
(i) that a person shall not be entitled to avail himself
of any set-off or counterclaim in any proceedings
by the Government for the recovery of taxes, duties
or penalties, or to avail himself in proceedings of
a n y other nature by the Government of any
set-off or counterclaim arising out of a right or
claim to repayment in respect of any taxes, duties
or penalties;
(ii) that a person shall not be entitled without the
leave of the court to avail himself of any set-off
o r counterclaim in any proceedings by the
Government; and
(iii) that the Government shall not be entitled to avail
itself of any set-off or counterclaim without the
leave of the court.
(3) Provision may be made by rules of court for regulating any
appeals to the High Court, whether by way of case stated or
otherwise, under the written law relating to the revenue, and any
rules made under this subsection may revoke any written law in
force immediately before the commencement of this Act so far as
they regulate any such appeals, and may make provision for any
matters for which provision was made by any written law so in
force.
(4) Rules of court made under this section shall be published
in the Gazette and, as soon as possible thereafter shall be laid
before the Parliament and if at the next meeting of the Parliament
after any such rule is laid before it a resolution is passed annulling
such rule or any part thereof, the whole rule shall thenceforth be
void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously
done thereunder, as from the date of notification in the Gazette of
the passing of such resolution.
33
Government Proceedings
Pending proceedings
*43.  Save as otherwise expressly provided, this Act shall not
affect proceedings by or against the Government which have been
instituted before the commencement of this Act; and for the purposes
of this section proceedings by petition of right shall be deemed to
have been so instituted if a petition of right with respect to the
matter in question has been left with the Clerk of Council for
submission to the Governor in Council before the commencement
of this Act.
Financial provisions
44. (1) Any expenditure incurred by or on behalf of the Government
by reason of the passing of this Act shall be defrayed out of the
revenue of the appropriate Government.
(2) Any sums payable to the Government by reason of the
passing of this Act shall be paid into the appropriate Treasury.
Savings
45. (1) Nothing in this Act shall apply to proceedings by or against,
or authorize proceedings in tort to be brought against, the Yang
di-Pertuan Agong or a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri in his
private capacity.
(2) Except as therein otherwise expressly provided, nothing in
this Act shall--
(a) affect the law relating to prize salvage, or apply to
proceedings in causes or matters within the jurisdiction
of the High Court as a prize court or to any criminal
proceedings;
(b) (Omitted).
(c) (Omitted).
(d) subject the Government to any greater liabilities in respect
of the acts or omissions of any independent contractor
employed by the Government than those to which the
Government would be subject in respect of such acts or
omissions if it were a private person;
*NOTE--Section 43 is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak­see L.N. 67/1965.
34
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
(e) affect any rules of evidence or any presumption relating
to the extent to which the Government is bound by any
written law;
(f) affect any right of the Government to control or otherwise
intervene in proceedings affecting its rights, property or
profits;
(g) apply to any proceedings by or against the Official
Administrator or the Public Trustee or affect any liability
imposed on the Public Trustee or on the revenues of
Malaysia by the *Public Trustee Act 1950 [Act 247]; or
**(h) apply to any proceedings by or against the Railway
Administration or any person employed or deemed to be
employed by the Railway Administration under the Railway
Ordinance 1948 [Ord. 8/1948].
(3) (Omitted).
(4) Where any property vests in the Government by virtue of
any rule of law which operates independently of the acts or the
intentions of the Crown or the Government, the Government shall
not by virtue of this Act be subject to any liabilities in tort by
reason only of the property being so vested; but this subsection
shall be without prejudice to the liabilities of the Government
under this Act in respect of any period after the Government or
any person acting for the Government has in fact taken possession
or control of any such property, or entered into occupation thereof.
***(5) This Act shall not operate to limit the discretion of the
court to grant relief under Chapter VIII of the Specific Relief Act
1950, or by way of mandamus in cases in which such relief might
h a v e been granted before the commencement of this Act,
notwithstanding that by reason of this Act some other and further
remedy is available.
(Omitted).
46.
*NOTE-- The Public Trustee Act 1950 [ Act 247 ] has since been repealed by the
Public Trust Corporation Act 1995 [Act 532see section 43 of Act 532.
**NOTE--Paragraph 45(2)(h) is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak­see L.N. 67/1965.
***NOTE--Subsection 45(5) is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak­see L.N. 67/1965.
35
Government Proceedings
LAWS OF MALAYSIA
Act 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS ACT 1956
LIST OF AMENDMENTS
Amending law
Short title
In force from
Ord. 60/1956
Settlements Nominated Council
01-09-1956
(Change of Title) Ordinance,
1956
L.N. 219/1957
Minister (Transfer of Functions)
10-05-1957
(Amendment) Order 1957
L.N. 107/1958
Pending Laws Validation
28-03-1958
(Government Proceedings
Ordinance) Order 1958
L.N. 334/1959
Notification under s. 3 of the
25-09-1959
Title of Office Ordinance,
1949
L.N. 67/1965
Modification of Laws (Government
26-02-1965
Proceedings and Public Authorities
Protection) (Extension and
Modification) Order 1965
Act A354
Constitution (Amendment)
27-08-1976
Act 1976
P.U. (A) 357/1980
Subordinate Courts Act
01-06-1981
(Extension) Order 1980
P.U. (A) 252/1989
Revision of Laws (Government
01-09-1989
Proceedings) Order 1989
36
Laws of Malaysia
ACT 359
LAWS OF MALAYSIA
Act 359
GOVERNMENT PROCEEDINGS ACT 1956
LIST OF SECTIONS AMENDED
Section
Amending authority
In force from
2
L.N. 334/1959
05-09-1959
P.U. (A) 357/1980
01-06-1981
14
L.N. 67/1965
26-02-1965
24
L.N. 334/1959
25-09-1959
35
L.N. 219/1957
10-05-1957
40
L.N. 107/1958
28-03-1958
45
L.N. 107/1958
28-03-1958
Throughout the
Ord. 60/1956
01-09-1956
Act
L.N 107/1958
28-03-1958
Act A354
27-08-1976
DICETAK OLEH
PERCETAKAN NASIONAL MALAYSIA BERHAD,
KUALA LUMPUR
BAGI PIHAK DAN DENGAN PERINTAH KERAJAAN MALAYSIA