The Statutes

Distribution Act 1958 (Extracts) Section 4 of the Distribution Act 1958 states the following:-

The distribution of the movable property of a person deceased shall be regulated by the law of the country in which he was domiciled at the time of his death. For example if it was found a person is a Malaysian domicile and he dies intestate, the law which is applicable for distributing his movables will be the Distribution Act. The distribution of the immovable property located in Malaysia of a person deceased intestate shall be regulated by this Act wherever he may be domiciled at the time of his death. For example, a person with an Australian domicile dies intestate leaving a piece of land in Malaysia, that piece of land will be distributed in accordance with the Distribution Act.

The Distribution Act 1958 (As Amended in 1997 for West Malaysia & Sarawak)

Spouse Only (No Parent / Issue) Spouse – Whole Estate
Spouse & Parent(s) (No Issue) Spouse – 1/2 share
Parent(s) – 1/2 share
Issue Only (No Spouse / Parents) Issue – Whole Estate
Parent(s) Only (No Spouse / Issue ) Parent(s) – Whole Estate
Spouse & Issue (No Parent) Spouse 1/3 share
Issue 2/3 share
Parent(s) & Issue (No Spouse) Parent(s) 1/3 share
Issue 2/3 share
Spouse, Parent(s) & Issue Spouse 1/4 share
Parent(s) 1/4 share
Issue 1/2 share

The following person(s) are entitled accordance to priority when an intestate dies without leaving surviving spouse, children and parents:-

  • Brothers and Sisters
  • Grand Parents
  • Uncles and Aunts
  • Great Grandparents
  • Great Uncles and Aunts

Intestate Succession Ordinance 1960 (for Sabah only)

Intestate dies leaving a surviving spouse – no issue and parents Whole estate to spouse
Intestate dies leaving surviving spouse and issue – no parents 1/3 share to spouse
2/3 share to issue
Subject to the rights of the surviving spouse
Intestate dies leaving surviving spouse and parents – no issue Personal chattels and ½ share of estate to spouse; ½ share to parents equally
Subject to rights of the spouse, if no descendants then parents are entitled
If no surviving spouse, no descendants, nor parents, but leaving brothers and sisters Whole estate to brothers and sisters equally
If no surviving spouse, descendants, parents, brothers and sisters but leaving grandparents. Whole estate to grandparents equally
If no surviving spouse, descendants, parents, brothers and sisters or their children or grandparents but uncles and aunts of the intestate Whole estate to uncles and aunts equally
In all other cases, the estate shall go to the next-of-kin in accordance with the table in the Schedule Whole estate to next-of-kin equally
In defaults of distribution under the Rules Whole estate to Government of Borneo


  • This Act only applies in Sabah. It does not apply to Muslims and the natives of Sabah.
  • Issues include children and the descendants of deceased children.
  • Definition of Personal Chattels mean horses, stable furniture and effects (not used for business purpose), motor cars and accessories (not used for business purpose), garden effects, domestic animals, plate, plated articles, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, jewellery, articles of household or personal use of ornament, musical and scientific instruments and apparatus, wines, liquors and consumable stores, but do not include any chattels used at the death of the intestate for business purposes nor money or securities for money.
  • Uncles and Aunts refer to parents’ brothers and sisters.
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