As regards the existing laws these are defined by Article 160 as any laws in

As regards the existing laws these are defined by

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As regards the "existing laws", these are defined by Article 160 as any laws in force in the Federation , or any part thereof, immediately before 31st August, 1957, and they are continued in force after that date by Article 162. Here two things must be clearly borne in mind in limine. The first is that the Constitution is a Constitution; that is to say, it does not purport to be a complete and exhaustive code of law dealing with every activity of the State and with every right and duty of the citizen. What it is, and what it purports to be, is an instrument setting out the organisation of the State, setting out the powers and relationships to each other of the various organs of the State and distributing among them the executive, the judicial and, what we are concerned with here, the legislative power. The second point to be observed is that immediately before the coming into existence of the Constitution on Merdeka Day, 1957, the geographical territory to which that Constitution was to be applied was not a hitherto unoccupied territory on the moon, nor was it as the Garden of Eden before the Fall. It was a territory which was in existence and had a political identity under a different Constitution and which possessed a great body of law enacted by a variety of legislatures governing every aspect of the activities of the citizens. There was a body of criminal law, there was a body of civil law, there was a body of law affecting status and so forth and so forth. The new Constitution made no attempt to deal in detail with the subject matter of that preexisting body of law. As regards the future it vested the legislative power of the new State in Parliament as regards certain matters and in the legislative bodies of the constituent States as regards other matters. Clearly, however, these newly created legislative organs could not within any reasonable period of time provide the new State with the complete apparatus of law which is considered necessary in a modern State. If chaos were to be avoided the only practical step was to continue in existence the body of law that already existed and to make it clear that it spoke with the voice of authority as clearly as did the laws to be enacted by the newly legislative bodies. This was sought to be done by Article 162 which is to be read in the light of Article 4(1) which reads as follows:— "This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void". Article 162 provides that the "existing laws", that is the laws in operation immediately before 31st August, 1957, shall continue in force after that date subject to any modifications made to them under the Article itself and subject to any amendments made to them by Federal or State law, that is to say, Acts of Parliament or laws made by the legislature of any State. From that it follows that any reference to the existing laws in any other Article of the
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