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Glimpse of Malaysian Laws
- Particular care should be taken to follow all immigration rules and regulations. Violation of visa conditions and overstaying your visa may result in penalties, including fines, detention and deportation. Check the dates on the visa stamp placed in your passport on arrival.
- You should carry suitable photographic identification with you at all times while in Malaysia.
- Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.
- Homosexual acts between males are illegal and penalties include corporal punishment and long prison sentences. Homosexual acts between women may be considered an ‘act of gross indecency with another’ and penalties include imprisonment.
- The penalty for some offences, including drug offences, commercial crime, rape and robbery, may include corporal punishment.
- Drug laws in Malaysia are significantly stricter than any other country. Anyone possessing any controlled substances may be levied a heavy fine, deported from the country immediately or imprisoned. Engaging in drug trafficking in Malaysia is punishable by death, and the courts take this law seriously.
- Malaysia is a devoutly Muslim country, and many of its laws derive from Sharia law. These include laws that pertain only to Muslims, such as those outlawing premarital sex or the imbibing of alcohol. Non-Muslims found facilitating a Muslim in breaking Sharia law may be arrested and fined. More serious is the prohibition against preaching of a faith. Those founds disseminating non-Islamic materials, or preaching any non-Islamic doctrine for the purpose of conversion may be arrested and imprisoned.
- Malaysia once had very strict laws regarding homosexual conduct – in 1998 the Deputy Prime Minister was removed from power on sodomy charges – but the attitude regarding sex has shifted as democracy has taken hold. Strictly speaking, homosexual acts are still illegal and punishable by caning and imprisonment for men and imprisonment for women. In practice, however, Malaysia is home to a vibrant gay scene, and even when raids on gay businesses do occur, locals are very rarely targeted. Public acts of sex are still very much illegal, however, and are punishable by caning or imprisonment.
- Petty theft, cheating in business and lying in business are all also illegal in Malaysia. These white-collar crimes are punishable by fines and by caning. Removing any flora or fauna from Malaysia is strictly prohibited, and may result in extensive fines, imprisonment, and expulsion from the country. Malaysia is also a common law country, and other than a few exceptions retains the basic common laws found in most Western nations.
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