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Malaysia prohibits terrorist offences in its Criminal Code. While certain terrorist crimes attract the death penalty, Malaysia has announced that it is abolishing capital punishment in its domestic law.  

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism at Domestic Level

A terrorist act is an act done with the “intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause”S. 130B(2)(b), Penal Code.that can reasonably be regarded as intending to intimidate the publicS. 130B(2)(c)(i), Penal Code.or influence any government or international organization to do or refrain from any act.S.130B(2)(c)(ii), Penal Code.Predicate offences include acts of endangering a person’s life, involve “serious damage to property”, which are designed to seriously interfere with computer systems, or which involve prejudice to national security and public safety.

An explicit exclusion is for acts that constitute advocacy or protest where they are not intended to cause serious bodily injury or create a serious risk to health and safety of the public.S. 130B(2)(a) and B(4).

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Malaysia is a State Party to many United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signatory


Malaysia is also party to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) 1999 Convention on International Terrorism and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) treaty on counter terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
OIC 1999 Convention on International Terrorism State Party
ASEAN 2007 Treaty on Counter Terrorism State Party

The OIC Convention explicitly excludes national liberation movements from terrorist crimes.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences 

The punishment for a terrorist act that results in death is the imposition of the death penalty. Other offences are punishable by imprisonment of not less than 7 years but not more than 30 years.S. 130C, Penal Code.However, the Malaysian government has announced the country would be abolishing the death penalty. While this has not yet been passed into law, the relevant amendments were expected to become law in 2023.

Predicate terrorist offences include the following:

  • Recruiting persons to be members of terrorist groups or to participate in terrorist acts
  • Providing training and instruction to terrorist groups and persons committing terrorist acts
  • Receiving training and instruction from terrorist groups and persons committing terrorist acts
  • Attendance at place used for terrorist training 
  • Inciting, promoting or soliciting property for the commission of terrorist acts 
  • Providing facilities in support of terrorist acts 
  • Travelling to, through or from Malaysia for the commission of terrorist acts in foreign country 
  • Possession of items associated with terrorist groups or terrorist acts 
  • Preparation of terrorist acts.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act allows a police officer without a warrant to arrest any person if he has reason to believe grounds exist which would justify inquiry into case of a person.S. 3(1), 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act.The Prevention of Terrorism Board (POTB) can order detention for up to two years (s13(1) and there can be no judicial review on their decision except “on questions of compliance with procedural requirement”.S. 19, 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The 2012 Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) empowers police officers to arrest and detain any person suspected of a broad range of security offences. It is specified, however, that no person shall be arrested and detained "solely" on the basis of "political belief or political activity".S. 4(1) and (3), SOSMA.


Malaysia Penal Code (through 2018)

Malaysia 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act

Malaysia SOSMA (2012)