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Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the legal system was founded on the principles of English common law.  Islamic principles are also a significant source of legislation, particularly with regard to family law. Article 3 of the 1957 Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the State and each of the 13 states of Malaysia that make up the Federation have enacted their own Islamic Law Act. The sources of law include the Federal Constitution and the Constitutions of the 13 States of Malaysia, legislation enacted by Parliament and the State Assemblies and delegated or subsidiary legislation made by persons or bodies by the powers conferred on them by Acts of Parliament or State Assemblies.  Local customs may also be accepted as an informal source of law.

Malaysia has a majority Muslim population with significant communities of Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and followers of indigenous religions.  The main school of Islamic jurisprudence is the Shafi School.

Available Information

reunite´s Summary Text for Malaysia 
Legal Texts

•    Constitution 1957

•    Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984

•    Sabah Islamic Family Law Enactment No.15 of 1992

•    Sabah Administration of Islamic Law Enactment No.13 of 1992

•    Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, no.164

•    Divorce and Matrimonial Proceedings Rules 1980.
•    Courts of Judicature Act 1964


•    Family Law Summary (Emory Project)

•    Abduction Summary (US State Dept.)

•    Child-Abduction Across Borders : Is there a Need for a Commonwealth Understanding?, Chew Swee Yoke, First presented at the 12th Commonwealth Law Conference at Kuala Lumpur in September 1999.