Malaysia Immigration Law

Malaysia Immigration Law

Let’s begin by defining what immigration is, it basically deals with laws that control the entry of people into Malaysia. The law for immigration can sometimes be considered as complicated as well as ever changing. Immigration law can also be defined as the nation’s border gatekeeper, this is because this particular law is the one that determines who will be allowed to enter the country, the amount of time that they will be permitted to stay and when they must leave the country, whether a person is an alien, as well as their obligations and duties while they are in the country.

The Immigration Act 1959/1963 is the main legislation that governs the Malaysian immigration. So for example the Immigration Act 1959/1963 governs the admissions into as well as the departure from Malaysia, the procedures on the arrival into Malaysia, offenses, the entry permits, removal from Malaysia and the special provisions for East Malaysia. While the Immigration Act 1959/1963 is main legislation in regards to the immigration law in Malaysia there are still other rules and regulations as well such as the Immigration (Exemption) Order 1963 and the Passport Act 1966.


Which is the governing body that gives the permission for entry into Malaysia?

The governing body that enforces the immigration law in Malaysia is known as the Immigration Department of Malaysia and this particular department is under the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs. The main responsibilities of the Immigration Department is to keep out aliens who are unable to finance themselves, those that have criminal records and people who are lying about their intentions of coming into Malaysia. In order for one to enter Malaysia, you would be required to apply for a visa stamped into your passport at the Malaysia Embassy or Consulate.


Who is allowed to enter into Malaysia?

Those that are allowed to enter into Malaysia includes that of a Malaysian citizen as well as a person who is in possession of a valid pass that has been lawfully issued to that particular person so that they are able to enter Malaysia, they have in possession a valid Entry Permit that has been lawfully issued to them and if there name has been endorsed upon a valid Entry Permit and they are in the company of the one that is the holder of the Permit.


When is a person deemed to have entered into Malaysia?

According to the Immigration Act 1959/1963, a person will be deemed to have entered into Malaysia includes;

  • A person that is arriving by air at an authorized airport and leaves the precincts of that particular airport.

  • A person whom arrives by sea and has disembarked in Malaysia from a vessel, ship or boat in which they have arrived in.

  • Where a person is entering into Malaysia by land then proceeds to an immigration control post and produces the particulars in such form as it may be requires. After that the person leaves the precinct of the post for any of the purpose other than departing from Malaysia by an approved route.

  • This will also include any of the other cases where a person is entering into Malaysia either by air, land or sea.


Are Malaysian citizen required to have a permit to enter into Malaysia?

No, a citizen of Malaysia is not required to obtain a pass or a permit to enter into their own country. However you should take note that there are some forms of restrictions on the citizen’s right to enter into the states of east Malaysia.

Citizens from west Malaysia will not be allowed to enter into the states of east Malaysia if they do not have the proper permits or pass unless they are;

  • A judge of the Federal Court or a judge of the High Courts in Sarawak and Sabah, or is a person that have been designated or nominated to carry out the responsibilities of the said person, or if they are a member of any Commission or Council that have been established by the Federal Constitution or by the Constitution of the states of east Malaysia.

  • They are a member of any of the public service of the Federation or of the public service of the states of east Malaysia or a joint public service that serves the states of east Malaysia or that is seconded to any of such services.

  • That particular person is entering into the states of east Malaysia temporarily as required by the Federal Government so that the government is able to carry out its administrative and constitutional responsibilities.

  • They are a member of the Federal Government, the Executive Council or the Legislative Assembly of the states of east Malaysia.

  • That they are entering into the states of east Malaysia with the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity.

Even so a person will still be required to prove their citizenship and this burden will lie with that particular person’s passport or identity card.

Who are the persons that are prohibited from entering into Malaysia?


According to the Immigration Act 1959/1963, those that will not be allowed to enter into Malaysia include;

  • Any person that is suffering from a mental disorder or being a mental defective or is suffering from a contagious or infectious disease that will make their presence in Malaysia a danger to the community.

  • Any person that has been convicted in any country or state of any offence and has also been sentenced to imprisonment for any term and has also not received a free pardon yet and by reasons of a circumstance which is connected with that particular conviction and has been deemed by the Director General of Immigration to be an undesirable immigrant.

  • Any person who procures or attempts to bring into Malaysia prostitutes, or women and girls for the purpose of prostitution or other acts that is considered to be immoral.

  • Any person whose entry into Malaysia or at the time of the entry is considered to be unlawful under the written law at the time when it was enforced.

  • Any person that is unable to show that they will have the necessary means to support themselves as well as their dependants if there is any, or that they have definite employment for them awaiting in Malaysia, or that they are most likely to become a pauper or to a charge on the public.

  • Any prostitute or any person who was living on or receiving the proceeds of a prostitute and this also include those who received such proceeds prior to entering into Malaysia.

  • Any person who believes in or advocates to the overthrowing of any of the government in Malaysia either by violence or by force or any of the established government or of constituted law or any authority or who disbelieves in or is opposed to the current established government, or those that advocates the assassination of any of the public officials or who advocates the unlawful destruction of property.

  • Any person that has obtained of form of information regardless of the source that is deemed by the Minister to be an undesirable immigrant.

  • The family as well as the dependants of the prohibited immigrant.

  • Any person that refuses to submit to a medical examination even after they were required to do so by an immigration officer who deems it to be necessary.

  • Any person that is a member of or is affiliated with any of the organization that entertains or teaches in the disbelief or the opposition of the established government or advocating or teaching the duty, necessity or propriety of the unlawful act of assaulting or the killing of any of the officer or officers, either it is a specific individual or any officers in general, of any of the government in Malaysia or any of the established governments, due to their official character that advocated or teaches the unlawful destruction of property.

  • Any person that is required by any of the written law that was enforced at that particular time to b in possession of a valid travel document and that they are not in the possession of those documents or they have in possession of travel documents which have been forged or altered and that does not fully comply with any of the written laws.

  • Any person that is considered to vagrants and habitual beggars.

  • Any person or any member of a class of person where an order has been made or whose pass or permit has been canceled from entering into Malaysia.

  • Any person that has been removed from any of the country or state by the government of that particular country or state on repatriation for any of the reason whatsoever and who by the reason of the circumstances connected therewith has been deemed by the Director General of Immigration to be an undesirable immigrant.

A person whose order has been made or those that have their permits or pass canceled by the Director General of Immigration and is dissatisfied with the decision can make an appeal to the Minister within 7 days of the publication of the order in the Gazette or the notification of the cancellation to the holder of that particular pass or permit. The appeal can be made by way of petition in writing that states out clearly and in detail the grounds for making the appeal. You should take note that the decision made by the Minister is final and you will not be able to make any more appeals if this one is rejected.


What is the procedure on arrival in Malaysia if I arrived on a vessel or a ship?

The “Master” who is the person that has control over the vessel must then navigate that particular vessel to the immigration anchorage. The Master of any vessels that are arriving or leaving Malaysia will then have to produce a certain list of the persons that are on board to the immigration officer and if the vessels are carrying any passengers then the Master will be required to have a complete list of all the passengers. From 25A will be used for the disembarkation of the passengers at the Malaysian port while Form 25B will be used for the list of through passengers.

The Master of the vessels that are arriving in Malaysia will then hoist the required immigration signal and will then exhibit the signal until they have been authorized by the immigration officer to haul it down. Examples of the signals include;

  • If it is by day then the flags of the International Code of Signals that corresponds with the numerals of “25” in respect to the vessels that are not carrying any passengers and the numerals “34” in respect to the vessels that are carrying passengers.

  • If it is by night, whether it is a vessel that is carrying passengers or not, there should be a red light over a white light that is mounted vertically, 6 feet apart from one another and that is visible through 360 degrees for a distance of about 2 miles.

The Master of the vessel will then anchor or tie up his vessel at the designated place once they have been ordered by the immigration officer and they will also remain there until the immigration officer gives them the permission to leave. Once the authority has been granted, the pilot, any of the government officers boarding the vessel on duty, the owner, the person that is chartering the vessel, or an agent of the vessel or a consular officer of the country to which the vessel belongs to shall board or leave the vessel arriving into Malaysia. This means that no other person than the ones mentioned may be able to leave or approach one cable length of the vessel until the vessel has been thoroughly examined by an immigration officer and they have been given the signal to be hauled down.

It will be the responsibility of the Master of the vessel to make sure that no person will be able to leave the vessel other than those that have been granted the authority to disembark from or boarding the vessel until they have been authorized by the immigration officer to board or disembark.

It shall be the duty of the master of the vessel to prevent any person other than those with authority granted from disembarking from or boarding the vessel until the disembarking or boarding has been authorized by an immigration officer.

Any person found on board of a vessel whose presence has not been reported in the lists, the master of the vessel shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM$1,000.00 in respect of each person.

All disembarking passengers are required to complete a Disembarking Card in triplicate and to enclose it in their passports for presentation to the immigration officer.

Every person arriving in Malaysia, shall appear before an immigration officer at such time and place as the officer may direct for examination as he may consider necessary.

Where an immigration officer is in doubt as to the right of any person to enter Malaysia, it shall be lawful for the officer to direct the person to an immigration depot and in such case, the person shall proceed to the depot and shall remain there until permitted to leave by the officer.

Where after examination, a person is considered to be prohibited from entering Malaysia, such person if still aboard, shall not disembark and if disembarked, shall return to the vessel. The immigration officer shall inform the person and give him instructions to depart from Malaysia on the vessel to which requirement has been made to his place of embarkation or to the country of his birth or citizenship.


1 Comment


    Hello Stephanie.

    My singaporean girlfriend has been visiting us very frequently and stayed up to 2-3 weeks per visit.
    Recently a Tuas Officer wrote down ‘final’ in ink on her exit chop in the white card and advise her NOT to enter the country for at least a month.
    I do not understand about this.
    Can you find some time to clarify this for me?

    Thank you.


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