Last updated on: 5 May 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Whether Specific law enacted: 
Number of people prosecuted: 
Number of people convicted: 
Applicable law: 

Penal Code 1936 (Act 574)

Key wording in the law: 

Negligent act, Malignant act


Penal Code 1936 (s 269) Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life-

An individual who 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 of any disease dangerous to life faces imprisonment for a term of up to six months and /or fine.

Penal Code 1936 (s 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 with a maximum sentence of two years and/or fine.

A 2006 press report attached stated that the Malaysian Government will impose mandatory prison terms on HIV-positive people who knowingly spread the virus to others by donating blood. There are no further reports regarding whether these measures have been imposed.

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

According to the Immigration Act 1995/1963, 8 (3) c in particular, entry will not be granted to those who refuse to perform a required medical exam. According to 8 (3) b, the entry to Malaysia can be denied to people with mental diseases as well as to people with infectious diseases whose presence could be harmful to the Malaysian society. This also applies to prostitutes (e; f).

Tourists are not required to perform an HIV test in order to enter Malaysia. However, they are also subject to the Immigration Act mentioned above.

A medical exam, including an HIV test, can be demanded of students who want to study in Malaysia. This depends on the specific requirements of the university in question.

Migrant workers (unskilled or partially skilled) who want to work in Malaysia must first perform an HIV test with a negative result in their home country. After their arrival in Malaysia, they have to undergo a second test. The work permit will only be granted if the negative result is confirmed.

The `Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988` concerns people in Malaysia testing HIV-positive. This law regulates the reporting of positive test results to the Ministry of Health. Foreigners who are thus reported to the Ministry of Health are subject to the Immigration Act.

Specific regulations target unskilled migrant workers. A negative HIV-test must be presented on arrival. Test results from the country of origin are accepted. The test must be performed annually in Malaysia. In case of diagnosed HIV infection, the concerned individual is deported within 3 days.

Some businesses and universities may require expatriates to undergo HIV testing as well. The Embassy urges those concerned to inquire about particular guidelines in this respect beforehand. The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, section 10, requires medical staff to report patients affected by infectious diseases to the authorities. This provision is usually respected. According to the Malaysian AIDS Council, only migrant workers are deported, while other foreigners may stay in the country. The AIDS Council advises people not to inform about a potential HIV infection before or when entering the country. Accessing treatment and care in the country is not problematic.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Malaysia.

There are no specific regulations barring people with HIV/AIDS from entering the country. HIV test certificates don’t need to be presented at the border. The immigration authorities are entitled to withdraw entry and residency permits if the visitor poses a threat to national security. This includes the infringement of public health and moral standards.

Medication for personal use can be imported. It is recommended to carry a doctor’s prescription along.

For updated information, please go to:

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more

Female to Female Relationships: Not Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to:

Laws relating to injecting drug use: 


Protective laws and policies for people living with HIV: