Legislation v Subsidiary Q2

Explain the similarities and differences between legislation and subsidiary.

(20 marks, 2017 Q2)

Legislation are laws made by legislature which are Parliament and state Legislative Assembly. In Malaysia, it is Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) or Dewan Undangan Negeri (State).

Subsidiary Legislation

Refer to

Why subsidiary legislation?

Subsidiary legislation (regulations, rules, codes, by-laws etc): generally are laws made under powers conferred by an Act. They expand on or supplement the provisions of the Act detailing the correct way the provisions of the Act are to be implemented.


From Wikipedia, primary legislation is Legislation by Parliament, and secondary legislation is Subsidiary Legislation. Subsidiary Legislation is also called Delegated or Subordinate Legislation.

In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation,[1] are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislative and executive branches of government. Primary legislation generally consists of statutes, also known as "acts", that set out broad outlines and principles, but delegate specific authority to an executive branch to make more specific laws under the aegis of the principal act. The executive branch can then issue secondary legislation (mainly via its regulatory agencies), creating legally-enforceable regulations and the procedures for implementing them.

Similarities and Differences

Legislation is made by Parliament or State Assembly.
Subsidiary is made by Person or Body under the power conferred to them by the Act (Legislation).
For example,
Legislation - Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act, 1981.
Subsidiary - Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Rules, 1986.
Legislation is broad and non-specific, it is big pictures.
Subsidiary is detailed and specific daily matters.
For example,
Legislation - VAEA Act, 1981 S.23  Practice by Firm. This section of the law is about practice of Valuation and Estate Agency by firm. It specifies who can set up and what forms of structure of firms in accordance to law.
Subsidiary - VAEA Rules, 1986 Rule 25B - 25M on details of registration to cessation of practice by firm. It includes what forms to complete and submit to the Board. Issues like change of address, change of name, renewal, registration fees, process of application, notification by the Board, duplication and cessation of practice.
Hence, an analogy would be Legislation is like General Manager. The GM makes the decision to open a branch operation. The Subsidiary is like the Sales Manager, who has to carry out the details of operation in daily matters of the new operation.

Legislation is a written law like VAEA Act 1981.
Subsidiary is also a written law like VAEA Rules 1986.

Both are written laws. Both also has the structures of chapters and structured parts. Usually the Sections in the Act, and Rules in the Subsidiary Rules, or Paragraph.

Legislation amendment is to go back to Parliament or State Assembly.
Subsidiary amendment is done by person(s) who are authority to carry out the Legislation.

For example,
Legislation - VAEA Act 1981 - Liberisation of Property Management. To pass amendment in order to liberize the profession of Property Managers.
Subsidiary - VAEA Rules 1986 - To come out with Malaysian Estate Agency Standard 2018 to replace Malaysian Estate Agency Standard 2014.

Hence, one Legislation could have many Subsidiary Legislations. The details of subsidiary legislation can be amended by the authority in execution of the law. The law itself however, cannot be amended unless by the Parliament or State Assembly.

This in fact, posts some argument as of which is the real 'authority'. For example, subsidiary legislation on taxes. On requirement of the executive to collect more taxes, amendments were made to increase the tax rate. Hence, this is seen as unfair. The centre of gravity has shifted from Parliament to the unelected bureaucracy.

Read 'Controlling Subsidiary Legislation' by Shad Saleem Faruqi in The Star Malaysia.

Legislation requires proper publication in the Gazatte.
Subsidiary does not require proper publication. It can be enforced prior to publication. It can also be backdated to as early as the date of the parent act.

Legislation can be repealed by the Parliament which made it.
Subsidiary can be repealed by the Parliament by repealing the parent act.