Malaysia - Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 - Equality Now

Malaysia - Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984

  • Country: Malaysia
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy & Wife Obedience

Sex discrimination in marital status laws renders women and girls subordinate in many aspects of family relations before, during and after marriage.

Women in polygamous marriages may face severe financial loss, including inheritance rights, and potentially fatal health problems such as HIV/AIDS due to their husband having multiple sexual partners.

The Law:

Articles 14 and 23 of Malaysia’s Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 allow a man to have more than wife.

14. (1) No woman shall, during the subsistence of her marriage to a man, be married to any other man.

23. (1) No man, during the subsistence of a marriage, shall, except with the prior permission in writing of the Court, contract another marriage with another woman nor shall such marriage contracted without such permission be registered under this Act: Provided that the Court may if it is shown that such marriage is valid according to Hukum Syarak order it to be registered subject to section 123.

Note: Article 8 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia: (1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. (5) This Article does not invalidate or prohibit— (a) any provision regulating personal law; (b) any provision or practice restricting office or employment connected with the affairs of any religion, or of an institution managed by a group professing any religion, to persons professing that religion.

Link to full law.

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