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10 legal ages in Malaysia you probably didn't know about...

about 5 years ago Viggnes





This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to be used or construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever. All articles have been scrutinized by a practicing lawyer to ensure accuracy.



“ Age is a just a number and jail is just room”, is a common term. You think you know the age limit for most things, but do you really?



In Malaysia a minor is someone who has not reached the ‘age of majority’. The ‘age of majority’ is above 18 years old under the Age of Majority Act 1971. Similarly, the definition of a “child” in the Child Act 2001 is a person under 18 years old.

You may notice later the definition of a child could vary according to the statutes. However, the definition of a “minor/child” in the 2 acts above is taken as the general definition unless otherwise stated.

For one example, a minor is GENERALLY not capable of signing a contract, as per Section 11 Contracts Act 1950. Rather than mention a specific age, the Contracts Act 1950 simply refers to the ‘age of majority’. 



Ever see someone dressed in a school uniform riding a motorcycle and wonder if its legal? Well the legal age to get your hands on a motorcycle license is 16 years old. – Section 39 (1) Road Traffic Act 1987.



If you’ve been ‘driving’ your parents crazy wanting to start driving their cars, its age 17 and above to hold a motorcar license. –  Section 39 (2) Road Traffic Act 1987.



Too bad for you Gen Z people,the legal drinking age is now 21. The legal age for drinking alcohol was 18 years old until December 1st, 2017, with new amendments (Regulation 361 and Regulation 386A) to the Food Regulation Act 1985 coming into effect.


As we can see from Section 13 Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 under the Food Act 1983, the legal smoking age at the time of writing this article is still 18 years old and has been since 1994.

Back in 2017, the Ministry of Health under BN leadership had plans to increase the legal age for smoking to 21. For now, the current Pakatan Harapan government has introduced new smoking bans at eateries but is yet to follow up on plans to raise the legal smoking age. If and when they do so, we will update this article accordingly.

Image credit Pinterest



At present time, Article 119 (1) of the Federal Constitution still sets the voting age at 21.

The Cabinet had already decided on lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. However, the present government would still need to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament before amendments to the Constitution can be made for it to legally take effect.When that happens, we’ll be sure to update it here.

[UPDATE] The Bill was passed with a majority vote (211 out of 222 parliamentary seats) on July 16 2019. This means that by the next election, the voting age will officially be 18 instead of 21. 



Malaysia does have strict laws on child labour however certain types of work are permitted  for a “child (below 15)” or “young persons (aged 15-17)”  under the Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act 1966.

You may read more on this topic and find the 4 types of work a child is permitted to do here in our article on child labour. We’ve listed the age as 15 in our infographic above since the conditions for “young persons” to work are less restrictive as compared to the limited types of work a “child” is permitted to do, and can be found in Section 2(3) of the Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act 1966.



Listen up, boys and girls.The legal age to give consent (permission) to sex is 16 years old. Having sex with anyone younger than 16 years old, may be statutory rape even if he/she said yes. –  Malaysian Penal Code (Act 574), Section 375.



Image credit Giphy


The legal age for marriage has been a contentious issue recently. For Non-Muslims throughout Malaysia, if your parents give you permission then the legal age of marriage is 18 for men and women. However, the age may be reduced to 16 for women if the Chief Minister grants you a license. If your parents don’t give permission, the both of you would have to wait until the age of 21 to marry - Section 12 Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

For Muslims, the laws relating to marriage age differ depending on an individual’s state Islamic laws. Selangor became the first state to standardize the marriage age for Muslim men and women to 18, but an application may be made to the Syariah court to marry if you’re underage. 

READ MORE : Is child marriage actually legal in Malaysia?

Have you also read Part 2? CLICK HERE : Legal ages for everything in Malaysia Part 2




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Like a hot cup of coffee in the morning, my writting style aims to be refreshing and stimulate bowel movement.