Custody and Religion of Minors in Malaysia

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Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil


Child custody refers to the upbringing of a child, including the parental responsibility to provide protection, love, care, education, shelter and management. Generally, in determining who will be the legal custodian of a child, a court will first and foremost ensure that the child’s welfare is wellprotected. 

In Malaysia, child custody is governed by two separate laws, one for non- Muslims and one for Muslims. For non-Muslims, the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act of 1976 (Act 164) holds sway, while for Muslims it is either the Islamic Family Law Enactments of the respective states or the Islamic Family Law Act of the Federal Territories that are relevant. While the Malaysian civil court operates over the non-Muslim laws, the Syariah court operates over the Muslim ones.

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