Residents and nonresidents are subject to tax on Malaysian-source income only.
Individuals are considered resident in any of the following circumstances:
- They are physically present in Malaysia for 182 days or more during the calendar year.
- They are physically present in Malaysia for less than 182 days during the calendar year, but are physically present in Malaysia for at least 182 consecutive days in the second half of the immediate preceding calendar year or in the first half of the immediate following calendar year. Periods of temporary absence are considered part of a period of consecutive presence if the absence is related to the individual’s service in Malaysia, personal illness, illness of an immediate family member or social visits not exceeding 14 days.
- They are present in Malaysia during the calendar year for at least 90 days and have been resident or present in Malaysia for at least 90 days in any three of the four preceding years.
- They have been resident for the three preceding calendar years and will be resident in the following calendar year. This is the only case in which an individual may qualify as a resident even though he or she is not physically present in Malaysia during a particular calendar year.
For the purposes of determining residence, presence during part of a day is counted as a whole day.
Income subject to tax. The taxation of various types of income is described below.
Employment income. Gross income from employment includes wages, salary, remuneration, leave pay, fees, commissions, bonuses, gratuities, perquisites or allowances (in money or otherwise) arising from employment. An individual employed in Malaysia is subject to tax on income arising from Malaysia, regardless of where the employment contract is signed or the remuneration is paid. Gross income also includes income for any period of leave attributable to employment in Malaysia and income for any period during which the employee performs duties outside Malaysia incidental to the employment in Malaysia.
Education allowances provided by employers to their employees’ children are taxable for income tax purposes.
Employee benefits and amenities not convertible into money are included in employment income. The cost of leave passages for an employee and the employee’s immediate family are also taxable, but the following items are exempt:
- Leave passage within Malaysia, up to three times in a calendar year
- One leave passage in a calendar year from Malaysia to any place outside Malaysia, up to a maximum of MYR3,000
Certain allowances, perquisites and benefits-in-kind are exempt from tax, including, among others, the following:
- Petrol/traveling allowances with respect to travel for official duties, up to MYR6,000 a year
- Meal allowances
- Telephone, including mobile phone
The cost of moving expenses, approved pension contributions, and the cost of any medical or dental treatment borne by an employer are not taxable to an employee.
Short-term visitors to Malaysia enjoy a tax exemption on income derived from employment in Malaysia if their employment does not exceed any of the following periods:
- A period totaling 60 days in a calendar year
- A continuous period or periods totaling 60 days spanning two calendar years
- A continuous period spanning two calendar years, plus other periods in either of the calendar years, totaling 60 days
Under an incentive that applied until 31 March 2015, non-citizen individuals working in Operational Headquarters (OHQs), Regional Offices, International Procurement Centres (IPCs) and Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) were taxed only on that portion of income attributable to the number of days that they were in Malaysia.
Self-employment and business income. All profits accruing in Malaysia are subject to tax. Remittances of foreign-source income into Malaysia by tax residents of Malaysia are not subject to Malaysian income tax.
Income from any business source is subject to tax. A business includes a profession, a vocation or a trade, as well as any associated manufacture, venture or concern.
Contract payments to nonresident contractors are subject to a total withholding tax of 13% (10% for tax payable by the nonresident contractor and 3% for tax payable by the contractor’s employees).
Income derived in Malaysia by a nonresident public entertainer is subject to a final withholding tax at a rate of 15%.
Investment income. Interest income received by individuals from monies deposited in approved institutions is exempt from tax.
Withdrawals of contributions from an approved Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) by an individual before the age of 55 (other than by reason of death or permanent departure from Malaysia) are taxed at a flat rate of 8%.
Other interest, dividends, royalties and rental income are aggregated with other income and taxed at the rates set forth in Rates. As a result of the introduction of the single-tier tax system, dividends received by individuals are exempt from tax, effective from the 2008 year of assessment. Dividends distributed under the imputation system continue to be taxable.
Certain types of income derived in Malaysia by nonresidents are subject to final withholding tax at the following rates.
Type of income Rate (%)
Special classes of income
Use of movable property 10
Technical advice, assistance or services 10
Installation services on the supply of
plant, machinery and similar assets 10
Personal services associated with the
use of intangible property 10
Royalties for the use or conveyance of
intangible property 10
Directors’fees. Directors’ fees are considered employment income; therefore, fees derived from Malaysia are taxable. Fees are deemed to be derived from Malaysia if the company is resident in Malaysia for the year of assessment. If the fees are derived from a country other than Malaysia, they are not taxed. Remittances of foreign-source income into Malay sia by tax residents of Malaysia are not subject to Malaysian income tax.
Employer-provided stock options. Tax legislation governs the taxation of employer-provided stock options. Under the tax legislation, employer-provided stock options are subject to tax as employment income. The taxable income is calculated based on the difference between the fair market value of the underlying stock at the exercise date or exercisable date, whichever is lower, and the option price. This amount is recognized at the time the option is exercised, and is taxed as current-year income (that is, it is no longer related back to the year of grant).
Capital gains. In general, capital gains are not taxable. However, gains derived from the disposal of real property located in Malaysia and gains derived from the sale of shares in closely controlled companies with substantial real property interests are subject to real property gains tax (RPGT).
Capital gains derived from the disposal of chargeable assets by an individual between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2010 within two and five years after the acquisition date are taxed at effective rates of 10% and 5%, respectively.
Effective from 1 January 2014, capital gains derived from disposals of chargeable assets by individuals who are Malaysian citizens and permanent residents are subject to tax at the following rates:
- 30% for a holding period up to three years
- 20% for a holding period exceeding three years and up to four years
- 15% for a holding period exceeding four years and up to five years
All disposals made after a five-year period are exempt from RPGT.
Individuals who are not Malaysian citizens are subject to RPGT at a rate of 30% for a holding period up to five years and 5% for a holding period exceeding five years.
Deductible expenses. Although provisions are made for the deduction of all expenditures incurred wholly and exclusively to produce income, the terms of the provisions tend to limit deductibility in practice. Deductions for employees usually cover specific travel and entertainment costs as well as professional subscriptions. The cost of traveling from home to work is not deductible.
No general deduction is allowed for interest costs, but interest on borrowings used to finance the purchase of income-producing property or investments may be deducted from the income received.
Donations of cash to the government, a local authority or an institution or organization approved by the tax authorities are deductible.
Personal deductions and allowances. In determining taxable income, an individual resident in Malaysia may subtract from total income the following personal deductions. These deductions are not available to nonresidents.
. Amount of allowance
Type of allowance MYR
Additional relief for personal disability 6,000
Spouse (if jointly assessed) 4,000
Additional relief for spouse’s disability 3,500
Younger than 18 years of age or, if 18
years of age or older, receiving full-time
education or serving under articles 2,000
For each child 18 years of age or older,
receiving full-time tertiary education or
serving under articles in or
outside Malaysia 8,000
For each disabled child studying in a
recognized institution of higher
learning in or outside Malaysia 6,000
Disabled child (in addition to child
Medical expenses for parents Up to 5,000
Parental care (can be shared equally
with other siblings and may not
exceed MYR1,500 per parent) Up to 1,500
Purchase of basic support equipment
for self, spouse, child or parent who
is disabled Up to 6,000
Study fees incurred for courses of study
(including post-graduate studies) at
recognized institutions or professional
bodies in Malaysia for the purpose of
acquiring any skill or qualification Up to 7,000
Purchase of books, journals or other
publications Up to 1,000
Life insurance premiums paid for self
or spouse, and provident fund
contributions Up to 6,000
Contribution to private retirement scheme
and deferred annuity Up to 3,000
Contribution to Social Security
Organisation (SOCSO) under the
Employees’ Social Security
Act 1969 Up to 250
Medical and educational insurance
premiums paid for self, spouse or child Up to 3,000
Medical expenses for self, wife or child
with serious disease, including up to
MYR500 for complete medical examination
expenses for self, spouse or child Up to 6,000
Purchase of computer Up to 3,000
(granted once every three years)
Child saving deposits, which are deposits
paid into Skim Simpanan Pendidikan
Nasional for children’s education Up to 6,000
Purchase of sports and exercise equipment Up to 300
Business deductions. The deductions and expenditure allowable against business income are those incurred wholly and exclusively in the production of gross income from the same source.
Depreciation charged in the financial accounts is not a deductible expense. However, straight-line capital allowances based on cost may be claimed on qualifying assets used in a business. In addition, an initial allowance of 20% of the cost of the asset is granted in the year of acquisition.
Rates. Income tax is payable on the taxable income of residents at the following graduated rates.
|Taxable income||Tax rate||Tax due||Cumulative tax due|
Nonresidents are subject to withholding taxes on certain types of income. Other income is taxed at a rate of 28%.
If a Malaysian or foreign national “knowledge worker” resides in the Iskandar Development Region and is employed in certain qualifying activities by a designated company and if his or her employment commences on or after 24 October 2009 but not later than 31 December 2015, the worker may apply to be subject to tax at a reduced rate of 15%. The individual must not have derived any employment income in Malaysia for at least three years before the date of the application.
Malaysian professionals returning from abroad to work in Malaysia would be taxed at a rate of 15% for the first five consecutive years following the professional’s return to Malaysia under the Returning Expert Programme (REP).
Relief for losses. Individuals may carry forward business losses indefinitely.
Malaysia does not impose estate, gift or net worth taxes.
Employer and employee contributions to the SOCSO of Malaysia are compulsory (for monthly salary below MYR3,000) for Malaysian citizens only. Various rates are specified for these contributions.
Employees who are Malaysian citizens are required to contribute to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). The EPF is a statutory savings scheme to provide for employees’ old-age retirement in Malaysia.
Under the Employees’ Provident Fund Act 1951, all employers and employees are required to make monthly contributions to the EPF. The statutory contribution rate is 23% or 24% of monthly wages. Employers pay at a rate of 12% if the employee’s monthly wages are above MYR5,000 per month or 13% if the employee’s monthly wages are below MYR5,000 per month. Employees contribute at a rate of 11% of monthly wages. The employees’ contribution rate is temporarily reduced to 8% for 22 months (from March 2016 to December 2017), but an employee can opt to maintain his or her contribution at the rate of 11% of monthly wages.
Employers may increase their contributions up to 19% without restrictions by the Malaysian tax authorities, and still deduct the amounts for corporate tax purposes. Employees’ contributions are deducted at source. No ceiling applies to the amount of wages subject to EPF contributions. Expatriates are not required to contribute to the EPF, but may elect to contribute to take advantage of the available tax relief.
Self-employed persons may elect to contribute to the EPF. The in dividual may make voluntary contributions at a fixed monthly rate of any amount from MYR50 to MYR5,000.
EPF contributions and interest credited are not subject to Malaysian tax on withdrawal. The contributions may be withdrawn by an employee on reaching 55 years of age or at an earlier time if the employee leaves Malaysia permanently with no intention of returning. Contributions may also be withdrawn on the death of an employee or if he or she is physically or mentally incapacitated and is prevented from further employment. Employees may make partial withdrawals to purchase a house or to finance medical treatment or education, or when they attain 50 years of age.
Tax filing and payment procedures
The year of assessment in Malaysia is the calendar year. The base year for assessing tax is the calendar year coinciding with the year of assessment. An individual carrying on a business in Malaysia is assessed tax on the business income for the calendar year coinciding with the year of assessment, regardless of the accounting period adopted by the business.
A self-assessment system of taxation for individuals is in effect in Malaysia. Under the self-assessment system, an individual must submit his or her tax return to the tax authorities and settle any balance of tax payable by 30 April in the year following the year of assessment if he or she has employment and/or passive income only or by 30 June in the year following the year of assessment if he or she has business income. A notice of assessment is deemed served on the submission of the tax return to the tax authorities. An appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date of the deemed notice of assessment (that is, within 30 days of the date of submission of the tax return).
An individual arriving in Malaysia who is subject to tax in the following year of assessment must notify the tax authorities of chargeability within two months after arrival. Nonresidents who are subject to final withholding taxes do not need to file tax returns unless required to do so by the tax authorities.
For employees, tax payment is made through mandatory monthly withholdings under the Monthly Tax Deduction Scheme (MTDS). All employers must deduct tax from cash remuneration, which includes wages, salaries, overtime payments, commissions, tips, allowances, bonuses and gratuities, based on tax tables provided by the Inland Revenue authorities. Effective from 1 January 2015, benefits-in-kind (BIK) and the value of living accommodation (VOLA) are subject to the MTDS. The date for payment of the taxes withheld to the tax authorities is extended from the 10th day to the 15th day of the following calendar month. Employers must withhold tax at a rate of 28% from wages, BIK and VOLA paid to nonresident employees.
Effective from 2014, taxpayers have the option to treat the amount of the monthly tax deduction as the final tax paid. If they exercise this option, they are not required to submit their annual income tax returns. However, this applies only if certain conditions are fulfilled.
Married persons are taxed as separate individuals. Each spouse is assessed on his or her own income and is given tax relief through his or her own tax deductions and allowances. An individual may elect to have his or her income aggregated with the income of the spouse and to be jointly assessed in the spouse’s name. This election enables the individual to utilize all allowances if his or her own income is insufficient to make full use of the available deductions and allowances.
Malaysia has entered into double tax treaties with the following jurisdictions.
Albania Italy Russian
Argentina (a) Japan Federation
Australia Jordan San Marino
Austria Kazakhstan Saudi Arabia (a)
Bahrain Korea (South) Senegal (b)
Bangladesh Kuwait Seychelles
Belgium Kyrgyzstan Singapore
Bosnia and Laos Slovak Republic (b)
Herzegovina Lebanon South Africa
Brunei Darussalam Luxembourg Spain
Canada Malta Sri Lanka
Chile Mauritius Sudan
China Mongolia Sweden
Croatia Morocco Switzerland
Czech Republic Myanmar Syria
Denmark Namibia Thailand
Egypt Netherlands Turkey
Fiji New Zealand Turkmenistan
Finland Norway United Arab
France Pakistan Emirates
Germany Papua New United Kingdom
Hong Kong SAR Guinea United States (a)
Hungary Philippines Uzbekistan
India Poland (b) Venezuela
Indonesia Qatar Vietnam
Iran Romania Zimbabwe
a) This is a limited agreement.
b) The treaty has been gazetted, but it is not yet in force.
Under the above treaties, a foreign tax credit is available for the lesser of Malaysian tax payable on the foreign income or the amount of foreign taxes paid. For non-treaty countries, the foreign tax credit available is limited to one-half of the foreign tax paid.
Under most of Malaysia’s tax treaties, a business visitor to Malay sia for varying periods of up to 183 days is exempt from Malaysian income tax if the services performed are for, or on behalf of, a nonresident person and if the remuneration paid for the services is not directly deductible from the income of a permanent establishment in Malaysia.
Agreements with some countries provide for reduced withholding taxes under certain conditions.
A visa is defined as the document issued (in the form of a stamp or endorsement sticker) that allows entry into Malaysia for certain nationalities. Applications for visas may be made to Malaysian foreign missions abroad (subject to conditions) with or without the support of the Malaysian government.
The Malaysian government issues the following three types of visas:
- Single Entry Visa
- Multiple Entry Visa
- Transit Visa
These visas are described below.
Single Entry Visa. A Single Entry Visa (SEV) is issued for social or business purposes to foreign visitors who require a visa to enter Malaysia and is only valid for one entry. The SEV must be used for entry into Malaysia within 3 months after issuance for a stay period of up to 30 days, subject to the discretion of immigration officers at the checkpoint.
Multiple Entry Visa. A Multiple Entry Visa (MEV) is issued by Malaysian foreign missions abroad to Chinese and Indian nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia multiple times for purposes of business or government matters. The validity of the MEV ranges from 3 months to 12 months. The MEV must be activated within 3 months after issuance for a stay period of up to 30 days per entry, subject to the discretion of immigration officers at the checkpoint.
Transit Visa. A Transit Visa is issued for foreign visitors who are passing through Malaysia before continuing their flight route to the next destination. This visa is valid for a maximum duration of 120 hours. Foreign visitors who do not leave the airport vicinity do not need a visa.
New facilities. Effective from 1 March 2016, the Malaysian government has introduced the following facilities for nationals of selected countries traveling to Malaysia:
- Electronic Travel Registration and Information (eNTRI)
e-Visa. Selected foreign nationals may apply for the SEV online and are not required to personally visit a Malaysian foreign mission abroad. This facility is only available for selected nationalities approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Electronic Travel Registration and Information. The eNTRI facility is available from 1 March 2016 to 31 December 2016. It is designed to facilitate the entry of selected foreign nationals visiting Malaysia for tourist purposes, under the Visa-Free Program. The eNTRI note is only valid for a single journey to Malaysia for the purpose of tourism, with a maximum stay of 15 days. Registration is open to foreign nationals from selected countries only.
Malaysia has abolished the issuance of the Business Visa/Pass. All business travelers are must apply for the necessary visa from to Malaysian foreign missions abroad (if applicable) and are issued a Social Visit Pass (SVP), which has a validity of up to 90 days at the entry point, subject to the discretion of the immigration officers at the checkpoint.
Business visitors must have a valid return ticket and may be requested to show proof of sufficient funding to support their stay period in Malaysia.
Work permit for professionals
A Malaysian work permit is required for any person who wishes to enter Malaysia for work purposes, regardless of duration.
Employment Pass. The Employment Pass (EP) is the work permit required for any person who is taking up employment with a Malaysian company or firm. It is issued by the Malaysian Immigration Department. An EP is issued with the MEV for a duration of one to five years, subject to justification, and is renewable.
An EP is granted on a case-by-case basis for positions that require special technical knowledge or experience not available locally or for positions that cannot be filled by Malaysian citizens. In general, to obtain an EP, expatriates must have the following:
- Relevant academic qualifications and work experience.
- A passport with a validity of at least 12 months or ideally for the full duration of the EP applied for by the expatriate.
- A contract from the Malaysian employer with a minimum monthly salary of MYR5,000. Exceptions to this condition apply if the employment is in certain industries or if certain conditions are fulfilled with the necessary support from the authorities.
- Passport-size (3.5 cm x 5 cm) photograph with blue background.
Also, the Malaysian company applying for the EP must fulfill certain requirements including, but not limited to, the following:
- Industry-specific requirements apply because different industries are governed by different ministries from which pre-approvals may need to be obtained before the application can be submitted to the Malaysian Immigration Department. For certain industries, the approving authority for the initial stage of the EP application may also be a Malaysian ministry or appointed body with differing application processes and requirements.
- Malaysian companies involved in certain industries are also required to provide necessary licenses in order to submit EP applications. These licenses include the Wholesale, Retail and Trade Licence or the Unregulated Services Licence from the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism and the G7 Grade Licence issued by the Construction Industry Development Board.
- Malaysian companies that wish to apply for an EP must meet the minimum paid-up share capital requirement, which is MYR500,000 for wholly foreign-owned companies, MYR350,000 for foreign companies in a joint venture with locals and MYR250,000 for 100% Malaysian-owned companies. The authorities for the applicable license may increase the minimum paid-up share capital requirement as a condition for the license.
- The Malaysian sponsoring company of an EP in West Malaysia must be registered with the Expatriate Services Division of the Malaysian Immigration Department to which applications are submitted electronically. The only exception is for companies whose approving authority is the Malaysian Investment Development Authority or the Multimedia Development Corporation.
Under the Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/63 (amended 2002), Immigration Regulations 1963 and Employment (Restriction) Act 1968 (Revised 1988), it is illegal to work without a valid work permit endorsed in an expatriate’s passport. The consequences of non-compliance include monetary fines, a jail term and caning. Other possible consequences include the blacklisting of the employee or the Malaysian company by the Malaysian government for up to five years.
To obtain an extension, expatriates must submit an application for extension ideally three months before the expiration of their passes.
Expatriates who have not completed their contract terms but wish to take up employment with other companies must shorten their current EP and obtain an official Release Letter from the current employer.
Professional Visit Pass. A person who intends to enter Malaysia for short-term assignments, such as to conduct training or install machinery purchased from an overseas company, may apply for a Professional Visit Pass (PVP). A PVP is usually valid for 1 to 6 months and is renewable for a total maximum period of 12 months except for the Sarawak state where the maximum period is 9 months. To qualify for a PVP, the individual’s salary must be paid by an overseas company.
A PVP with the validity of above more than two months is issued with an MEV.
Residence Pass-Talent. The Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) is issued to highly qualified expatriates seeking to continue living and working in Malaysia on a long-term basis. Holders of the RP-T are eligible for many benefits, including the ability to live and work in Malaysia for up to 10 years. RP-T holders may change employers without having to apply for a new work permit. The spouse and children (under 18 years old) of the recipient are also awarded the RP-T and are allowed to work (spouse) or study (children) without having to apply for an EP or Permission to Study. In general, a foreign individual who has been living and working in Malaysia for at least three years on a continuous basis may apply for the RP-T if all the requirements are met. Applicants need to be approved by the RP-T panel before they are recommended for the granting of the pass. Preference is given to applicants who qualify as experts and are able to contribute to key Malaysian industries in a significant way.
The Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H Program) allows people from all over the world who fulfill certain criteria to reside in Malaysia as long as possible on a Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) issued with an MEV. The LTSVP is granted for an initial period of 10 years (subject to the validity of the applicant’s passport) and is renewable. The program is open to all citizens of countries recognized by Malaysia, regardless of race, religion, gender or age. Applicants may bring along their spouse and their unmarried children below 21 years old as dependents. Applicants may not work in Malaysia under this program.
To qualify for the program, individuals who are aged 50 years or older must show proof of liquid assets worth a minimum of at least MYR500,000 and an offshore income of MYR10,000 per month. The applicant must satisfy either of the following conditions:
- They must open a fixed-deposit account of MYR150,000 in an approved financial institution. After a period of one year, the participant can withdraw up to MYR50,000 for approved expenses relating to a house purchase, education for children in Malaysia and medical purposes. A letter from the participant to the MM2H Centre, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia is required before any withdrawal is made from the fixed-deposit account. Beginning with the second year, the participant must maintain a minimum balance of MYR100,000 throughout his or her stay in Malaysia under the program.
- They must show proof of monthly offshore income, such as pension income, of MYR10,000 or more. Only applicants who are drawing from government-approved funds may satisfy this condition.
All participants in the MM2H Program and their dependents (spouse and children) must submit a medical report from a private hospital or registered clinic in Malaysia on approval or on the receipt of the Conditional Letter of Approval. Approved participants and dependents (spouse and children) must possess a valid medical insurance policy that applies in Malaysia.
Foreign citizens may apply for participation in the MM2H Program directly, without going through a third party, or they may use the services of MM2H agents licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia.
The LTSVP described above is not a permanent residence permit.
Family and personal considerations
Working spouse. The spouse of an EP holder must cancel his or her Dependent Pass and obtain an EP from the Malaysian Immigration Department to work legally in Malaysia. The Malaysian Immigration Department does not provide a procedure for a DP holder to obtain a Permission to Work while retaining the DP.
Unmarried partner. A female unmarried partner of a male EP holder for certain nationalities are allowed to apply for the LTSVP with a maximum validity of one year if all conditions are fulfilled. The LTSVP is renewable.
Studying children. The child of an EP holder is allowed to study in Malaysia without having to change his or her Dependent Pass to a Student Pass if he or she obtains the necessary Permission to Study approval from the Malaysian Immigration Department.
Accompanying parent or parent-in-law. The parent or parent-inlaw of an EP holder can be granted a LTSVP with a maximum duration of one year. The LTSVP is renewable.
Marital property regime. In Malaysia, the distribution of marital assets is administered by the courts at the time of a divorce or legal separation. No strict rules govern the distributions, and courts have considerable flexibility in adjusting the property rights of the parties. The court-adjudicated distribution applies to all married persons in or domiciled in Malaysia. However, the regime does not apply to Muslims or persons married under Muslim law.
Marriages contracted outside Malaysia are recognized as valid if carried out in accordance with the laws of the relevant country and if the parties had the capacity to marry under the laws of their country of domicile.
A distinction is made between marital property acquired during the marriage by “joint efforts” and marital property acquired during the marriage by “the sole effort of one party.” With respect to marital property acquired by joint efforts, the courts incline toward equal division after taking into account the extent of the contributions made by each party in acquiring the property, any debts owed by either party that are for their joint benefit and the needs of minor children. For marital property acquired by the sole effort of one party, the courts may arrive at a reasonable distribution after considering the extent of contributions made by the other party to the welfare of the family; however, the distribution must give a greater proportion of the property to the person who acquired the property.
Assets acquired by one party before the marriage and assets received during the marriage by gift from third parties are not distributed under this regime. However, if during the marriage, a non-matrimonial asset is sold and another asset is purchased with the sale proceeds, the new asset may be regarded as marital property subject to distribution.
Prenuptial agreements between the parties regarding property rights are irrelevant. The courts are not bound by these agreements in adjusting the respective rights of the parties.
The regime for distribution of property for Muslims and Muslim marriages varies from state to state. In general, a divorced party is entitled to one-third of all property acquired during the marriage.
In parts of Malaysia where the matriarchal system is followed, distribution of property follows the customary law. Under this system, at the time of divorce, property acquired by each party before the marriage is generally restored to the respective party, and property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equally.
Inheritance rules. In general, Malaysian law does not specify how to distribute property at death. Individuals are free to provide for the distribution of their property in a will. However, if a testator is domiciled in Malaysia, the courts have the power to intervene to provide adequate maintenance to dependents of the deceased. In addition, a Deed of Family Arrangement can alter the terms of a will or the application of intestacy laws by agreement among the beneficiaries.
In general, the provisions of wills regarding the disposal of immovable property located in Malaysia are construed in accordance with Malaysian law, whether the testator is a Malaysian or a foreigner. Wills disposing of movable or immovable property located outside Malaysia are governed by the laws of the country where the property is located.
Muslim persons are subject to a separate regime of distribution.
Under customs prevalent in certain areas of Malaysia, land devolves on the female issue only, and the widower and sons take nothing.
Driver’s licenses. Under Section 28 of the Road Transport Act (RTA) 1987, expatriates holding a valid foreign driving license issued by countries that are parties to bilateral treaties may drive legally in Malaysia if the treaty recognizes such driving licenses issued by the contracting countries. Holders of these qualifying driving licenses must have an official translation legalized by the foreign mission of the document’s issuing country or a Malaysian foreign mission of the document’s issuing country for documents not issued in English.
For foreign nationals who possess a pass with a validity of more than one year, an automatic conversion to a Malaysian driving license is allowed, subject to certain conditions. The holders of a driving license issued from the following jurisdictions may apply for an automatic conversion to a Malaysian driving license.
Australia Hong Kong SAR Nigeria
Belgium Iran Papua New Guinea
Brunei Iraq Philippines
Darussalam Italy Poland
China Japan Russian Federation
Denmark Korea (South) Singapore
Egypt Laos Spain
Fiji Libya Switzerland
Finland Mauritius Taiwan
France Netherlands Thailand
Germany New Zealand Turkey
To obtain a new Malaysian driving license, the applicant must first pass a written examination on simple road signs and basic driving regulations and then apply for a temporary license, which is obtained by paying the fixed fee to the Road Transport Department of Malaysia. The relevant authority then conducts a practical test on basic driving skills.