2018 population growth rate


Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49

Unknown. There is no national prevalence data for Malaysia. Several studies have documented female genital cutting (FGC) across the provinces of Kelantan, Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Johor.

[Source: Cappa, Luk Van Baelen & Els Leye]

Type practised

Girls in Malaysia commonly undergo female genital cutting (FGC) Type I and Type IV.

[Source: UNICEFDHS and MICS]


FGC is carried out 40 days after birth.


In rural areas, it is common for traditional practitioners to carry out FGC. Medicalisation of the practice is increasing, and is thought to be especially prevalent in urban areas.

Legal status


National progress

  • Efforts to end FGC in Malaysia are minimal. Some campaigns focus on raising awareness that the practice is not required by religion, and some civil society organisations like Sisters in Islam advocate for a holistic approach focusing on community engagement.

Ongoing challenges

  • In 2009, the government sponsored 86th conference of Malaysia’s Fatwa Committee, National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs, decided that FGC is part of Islamic teachings and should be observed by Muslims.
  • In 2012, the Malaysian health ministry announced that it was developing guidelines to standardise FGC, however they were never published.
  • At Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 2018, the Malaysian representative defended “female circumcision” in Malaysia, and stated that the practice “should not be equated” with FGC.
  • In November 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, stated that FGC is part of Malaysian culture and defended the practice as being beneficial to women.
  • The Malaysian Islamic Department of Development (JAKIM) published guidelines for medicalised FGC in 2018, thus legitimising the practice as acceptable, despite international condemnation.

Human Development Index ranking

57 in 2018 index, based on 2017 data.

Infant mortality rate

7 deaths per 1,000 live births (2016).

Maternal mortality rate

40 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: Human Development Index

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