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What is bigamy? Is bigamy punishable by law? What is the punishment for bigamy in Malaysia?

Bigamy is the act or condition of a person lawfully married under any law, religion or custom who during the continuance such marriage contract a marriage with a third person under any law, religion or custom.

Bigamy, in civil marriage, is a crime in Malaysia. However, polygamy is permitted in Islamic marriage in Malaysia with certain restriction.

Section 7 (1) of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976

Any person lawfully married under any law, religion, custom or usage who during the continuance of such marriage purports to contract a marriage under any law, religion, custom or usage in contravention of section 5 shall be deemed to commit the offence of marrying again during the life-time of husband or wife, as the case may be, within the meaning of section 494 of the Penal Code.


Every person found guilt of bigamy within Malaysia shall be liable to punishment under Section 494 of the Penal Code.

Having an Affair


Section 494 of the Penal Code

494. Marrying again during the lifetime of husband or wife.

Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife and whether such marriage has taken place within Malaysia or outside Malaysia, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven (7) years, and shall also be liable to fine.


There is an exception to Section 494 of the Penal Code. The Section does not extend to any person whose marriage, with such husband or wife, has been declared void by a Court of competent jurisdiction, nor to any person who contracts a marriage during the life of a former husband or wife, if such husband or wife, at the time of the subsequent marriage, shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven (7) years, and shall not have been heard of by such person as being alive within that time, provided the person contracting such subsequent marriage shall, before such marriage takes place, inform the person with whom such marriage is contracted, of the real state of facts so far as the same are within his or her knowledge.

A person who commits an offence defined in Section 494 of the Penal code with concealment of the former marriage from the person whom subsequent marriage is contracted shall be liable to punishment under Section 495 of the Penal Code.

Section 495 of the Penal Code

495. Same offence with concealment of the former marriage from the person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted.

Whoever commits the offence defined in section 494, having concealed from the person with whom the subsequent marriage is contracted the fact of the former marriage, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten (10) years, and shall also be liable to fine.


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Knowledge Base ID :   1033
Last Reviewed :   November 16, 2016
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