Question Sajaydah Law

The application of English law in Malaysia

Is English Law applied in Malaysia?

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Answer Internal Staff

Malaysia practices a mixed legal system, applying a mixture of Common Law, Islamic Law and Customary law, which aims to balance the racial and religious needs of its heterogeneous people.

English Law is applied in Malaysia is through the common law. Article 160 of the Federal Constitution rules the common law to be applicable ‘in so far as it in operation in the Federation or any part thereof’. Section 3 of the Civil Law Act 1956 further specifies that the common Law of England and the rules of equity may be applied. It must be noted that the application of these is only allowed under circumstances where no specific Malaysian law can apply. Therefore, although English law can be applied in Malaysia, it is clear that it does not supersede Malaysian law, it is a mere supplement.

There is an express rule found in Section 6 of the Civil Law Act that no English land law is concerning tenure, conveyance, or succession to any immovable property will be applied in Malaysia, instead, the National Land Code governs land matters. The case of Sia Cheng Soon v Tengku Ismail Tengku Ibrahim [2008] 5 CLJ 201 confirms that the Civil Law Act only concerns civil law, and therefore, English criminal law is not applied in Malaysia.