When you are in Malaysia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can’t get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.
Travellers should note some aspects of Shariah (Islamic) Law have been introduced by all states in Malaysia. Kelantan and Terengganu states are particularly observant. You should ensure you are aware of relevant provisions, which apply to all Muslims, including those from Australia.
The website of the Malaysian High Commission in Canberra has information on regulations for importing prescription and non-prescription medication. Some medications require a letter from the prescribing doctor. You should always keep your medication in its original packaging and respect the restrictions on importation of prescription and non-prescription medication.
The penalty for criminal offences, including other drug offences, commercial crime, rape and robbery, may include corporal punishment. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal and penalties are strictly enforced. Malaysian law also has penalties for homosexual acts which are illegal. See Smart Traveller’s LGBTI travellers page – this online resource goes into great detail about expectations, taking care of yourself and having a realistic outlook about being safe.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, etc. apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.