Malaysia - Time Bars

In Malaysia, the principal act of limitation is set out in the Limitation Act 1953 ("the Act") basically based on the English Limitation Act 1939 which was since then replaced with the Limitation Act 1980. The Act prescribes different period of limitation depending on different types of causes of action that arise. The Act cautions that nothing therein shall operate as a bar to any action or proceedings unless expressly pleaded.

However, it is indeed not the only statute of limitation in force. The Act provides that it is inapplicable where the Government is involved and indeed the Government protects itself by virtue of Public Authorities Protection Act, 1948. Below is the summary of periods of the limitation in West Malaysia.

Type of ActionLimitation PeriodAct/Statues

Torts 6 (Six) years from the cause of action accrued or the date on which the wrongful act caused loss/damage. Sec. 6 of the Limitation Act 1953
Contract 6 (Six) years fromt the date the cause of action accrued (that is, the date of the brach of contract). Sec. 6 of the Limitatiion Act 1953
Land 12 (Twelve) years from the date on which the right of action accrued (which is the last date agreed for completion of sale of the land). Sec. 9 of the Limitation Act 1053
Fraud/Breach of Trust 6 (Six) years from the discovery of fraud, concealment or mistaken found. Sec. 29 of the Limitation Act 1953
Carriage of Goods by Sea 1 (One) year after delivery of goods or the date when good should have been delivered. Sec. 4 of the Carriage of Goods Act 1950
Carriage of Goods by Air 2 (Two) years from the date of arrival at destination or from the date which the aircraft ought to have arrived or which the carriage stopped. Schedule 6, Chapter III, Sec 2 of the Carriage by Air Act 1974
Enforcement of Judgement

12 (Twelve) years from the date of judgement became enforceable

If more than 6 (Six) years, leave of Court is needed (discretionary power of Court)

Sec 6 (3) of Limitation Act 1953
Collision / Personal Injury 2 (Two) years from the date when the damage or loss or injury was caused or the salvage services were rendered Sec 517 of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952
Oil Pollution 3 (Three) years from the date of pollution damage occurred Sec 10, Part II & III of the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act 1994
Wreck Removal 1 (One) Year from the date when the ship was sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned. Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, Section 377(1)
Death in absentia (Missing Person) 7 (Seven) years from the date since the person last reported Evidence Act, Section 108
Claim for Workmen Compensation 1 (One) year from the date of death or disablement begins Workmen Compensation Act 1952, Section 5(3)

*Please note that the above periods of limitation do not apply to states in East Malaysia. The periods of limitation in East Malaysia is governed under different statutes altogether i.e., the Limitation Ordinance.

Staff Author