Is religious marriage legal in Malaysia? If a religious marriage is not filed with the marriage registrar, is it considered a legal marriage? What are the procedures for legal religious marriage?

A religious marriage takes place in a church, temple or other building of religious worship where the service is conducted in accordance with the religious rites and ceremonies of the premises by the minister or priest of the church or temple who is appointed as Assistant Registrar of Marriages for the registration district.

In Malaysia, non-Muslim religious marriage are not legally recognised under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 unless:

  • the marriage is registered as a civil marriage with the Registrar of Marriages; and

  • the solemnisation of the marriage is performed by a registered solemniser [1] with the Registrar of Marriages;
  • or

  • the marriage is conducted according to religious or customary rites and ceremonies before March 1st, 1982.

Most couples prefer Civil Marriage where civil preliminaries, solemnisation and registration must be completed before going through a traditional wedding ceremony in church and temple.

Please note that for a religious marriage, the documentation requirements and registration procedures may differ depending on the type of religious marriage ceremony choice.

The most common types of religious marriage ceremonies in Malaysia are

  1. ^ Priest of a temple or church appointed as Assistant Registrar of Marriages for a marriage district.

    Priest of temple includes any member of a committee of management or governing body of that temple and any committee member of any religious association.

    Priest of church includes any officer or elder of the church.

    If you have doubts about whether the priest whom you have chosen is a registered solemniser, please contact the Registrar of Marriages in your district.

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Knowledge Base ID :   1024
Last Reviewed :   November 16, 2016
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