Definition of Youth

As defined in the 1997 National Youth Development Policy, youth range between the ages of 15 – 40. However, the policy also specifies that youth development programs and activities shall be focused on youth aged 18 – 25.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 18
  • XX
  • Female
  • 16
  • 16
  • XX

  • Without parental consent, marriageable age for male and female non-Muslims is higher at 21 years of age. Homosexual acts are illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code of Malaysia

Majority Age


Source: Wikipedia

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.34% Male (15-24) %
  • 98.50% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 67.09%Male %
  • 65.60% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 35.10% Male (13-15) %
  • 9.40% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The 1997 national youth policy is under review. The 10th Malaysia Plan has a youth chapter.

The national youth policy's objective is “to establish a holistic and harmonious Malaysian youth force imbued with strong spiritual and moral values”. Its strategies include developing a knowledge base on youth as well as a focus on skill development. The Youth Societies and Youth Development Act 2007 (Act 668) defines the National Youth Consultative Council, chaired by the Minister of Youth and Sport and made up of state representatives, ministries and major national youth societies. It is a forum for both government and NGOs to meet and discuss issues relating to youth development. The Act also lists provisions applicable to registered youth societies as well as the framework for the Malaysian Institute for Research in Youth Development, including its functions, powers, and funding.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) was established in 1964. The vision of the ministry is “to champion the empowerment of a superior youth and sports development and inculcate sports culture within the society by the year 2015.” It is responsible for the development and implementation of Malaysia’s national youth policy.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) was formed in 1948 and is a non-governmental voluntary organisation that is the sole coordinating body for youth and student organisations in Malaysia. It participates in the National Youth Consultative Council (a forum for governmental and non-governmental actors to meet and discuss issues relating to youth development), and plays an active role in the implementation and monitoring of the national youth policy.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
MYR 738 million
(USD 227 million)
In the 2013 budget speech, Prime Minster and Minister of Finance Najib Razak committed MYR 738 million ($USD 227 million) to youth and sports. According to the World Bank, Malaysia spent 21.30% of its government expenditure and 5.13% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

From the Youth in Malaysia: A Review of the Youth Situation and National Policies and Programmes (UN ESCAP, 2002) report:

Malaysia’s development plan, known as Vision 2020, aims to develop all aspects of the country including national unity, social cohesion, economy, social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values and national pride and confidence [...]

The development process of the National Youth Development Policy was comprehensive involving all of the major national youth development organisations that in turn engaged youth groups throughout the country in discussions.