Malaysia

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Overview

Malaysia’s Penal Code includes a law increasing the penalty for rape if the accused knows they are HIV-positive and HIV has or could be transmitted during the offence. 

In addition, Malaysia has two communicable disease laws covering negligent and malignant acts likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life.

There have been no known HIV criminalisation cases in Malaysia to date.

Laws

Penal Code 1936

Communicable disease law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Section 269 – Negligent act likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life

Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.

Section 270 – Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life

Whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

Penal Code 1936

Other law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Section 376 – Punishment for rape

(2) Whoever commits rape on a woman under any of the following circumstances: when he knows that he is afflicted with the Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or any other sexually transmissible disease and the virus or disease is or may be transmitted to the woman;… shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than *ten years and not more than thirty years and shall also be punished with whipping.

Further resources

This report identifies the current status of policy and legal environment in Malaysia that safeguard the universal human rights of the key affected populations with regard to the HIV prevention, care and treatment. The review and consultation establishes a baseline on the current enabling environment (policies and laws) in relation to safeguarding the human rights of the key populations and second, and it provides a set of recommendations to input into any reforms to promote an enabling environment where the human rights of the key populations are protected.

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.

This information was last reviewed in September 2020