Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 [Act 164]

Part I   cite [+]


1 Short title and commencement   cite [+]

This Act may be cited as the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and shall come into force on such date as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, by notification in the Gazette appoint and different dates may be appointed for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

2 Interpretation   cite [+]

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"aborigine" has the same meaning assigned to it in section 3 of the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954 [Act 134];

"appointed date" means the date of coming into operation of this Act;

"Chief Minister", in relation to-

(a) the States of Malaysia, means the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar of a State;

(b) the Federal Territory means the Minister;

(c) the Malaysian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate, means the Malaysian Ambassador, High Commissioner or Consul respectively;

"child of the marriage" means a child of both parties to the marriage in question or a child of one party to the marriage accepted as one of the family by the other party; and "child" in this context includes an illegitimate child of, and a child adopted by, either of the parties to the marriage in pursuance of an adoption order made under any written law relating to adoption;

"court" means the High Court or a Judge thereof or, where a Sessions Court Judge has jurisdiction by virtue of subsection (2), the Sessions Court or a Sessions Court Judge of that Court;

"marriage district" means an area which has been defined as a marriage district under subsection 28(5), or if no such area has been so defined in any State or Federal Territory, that State or Federal Territory;

"marriage register" includes-

(a) any register of marriages kept under any written law relating to registration of marriages prior to the appointed date;

(b) marriage registers constituted under subsection 46A(1) and section 46B; and

(c) microfilms, computers and other forms of records made under subsection 46A(2);

"marriage with another woman" means marriage of any person, being married to any other woman during the life of the former wife, whether the second marriage has taken place within Malaysia or elsewhere;

"Minister" means the Minister charged with responsibility for the registration of marriages;

"minor" means a person who is under the age of twenty-one years and who is not a widow or widower;

"native", in relation to Sabah and Sarawak, has the same meaning assigned to it in Clause (6) of Article 161A of the Federal Constitution;

"Registrar" means a Registrar of Marriages appointed under this Act and includes the Registrar General, an Assistant Registrar General, a Superintendent Registrar, a Deputy Registrar and an Assistant Registrar of Marriages;

"Registrar General" means the Registrar General of Marriages and includes a Deputy Registrar General of Marriages appointed under this Act.

(2) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, on the advice of the Chief Judge, by notification in the Gazette, confer upon any Sessions Court Judge jurisdiction to deal with any matter under this Act.

3 Application   cite [+]

(1) Except as is otherwise expressly provided this Act shall apply to all persons in Malaysia and to all persons domiciled in Malaysia but are resident outside Malaysia.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person who is a citizen of Malaysia shall be deemed, until the contrary is proved, to be domiciled in Malaysia.

(3) This Act shall not apply to a Muslim or to any person who is married under Islamic law and no marriage of one of the parties which professes the religion of Islam shall be solemnized or registered under this Act; but nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a court before which a petition for divorce has been made under section 51 from granting a decree of divorce on the petition of one party to a marriage where the other party has converted to Islam, and such decree shall, notwithstanding any other written law to the contrary, be valid against the party to the marriage who has so converted to Islam.

(4) This Act shall not apply to any native of Sabah or Sarawak or any aborigine of Peninsular Malaysia whose marriage and divorce is governed by native customary law or aboriginal custom unless-

(a) he elects to marry under this Act;

(b) he contracted his marriage under the Christian Marriage Ordinance [Sabah Cap. 24]; or

(c) he contracted his marriage under the Church and Civil Marriage Ordinance [Sarawak Cap. 92].

4 Subsisting valid marriages deemed to be registered under this Act and dissoluble only under this Act   cite [+]

(1) Nothing in this Act shall affect the validity of any marriage solemnized under any law, religion, custom or usage prior to the appointed date.

(2) Such marriage, if valid under the law, religion, custom or usage under which it was solemnized, shall be deemed to be registered under this Act.

(3) Every such marriage, unless void under the law, religion, custom or usage under which it was solemnized, shall continue until dissolved-

(a) by the death of one of the parties;

(b) by order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(c) by a decree of nullity made by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Important Notice: Legislation from this website is not a copy of the Gazette printed by the Government Printer, Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad, for the purposes of section 61 of the Interpretation Acts 1948 and 1967 [Act 388] and does not constitute prima facie evidence of the contents of the Gazette by virtue of the section.