The Malay Customary Law (Adat)

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The Malay laws (Adat) Malay customary law is called “adat”, is a word came from Arabic. Adat in general means a right to conduct an in common usage, it stands for a change of things all connected with proper social culture and behavior. Therefore, it will imply rules of etiquette and the ceremonies recommended for a certain occasion such as marriage as well as those customs which have legal consequences. Being the customs law at a certain time in a certain place, adat is flexible and adaptable to social needs and not suitable for codification. The Malay law was not be taken seriously as representing the adat law in a certain state. An abundant number of adat rules put a limit to their freedom. As being defined by its common usage adat indicate an unwritten code of behavior and social custom governing the Malay society. It is a social norm established by long usage laid down by a principal political powers or rules of human conduct which was recognized as being obligatory. A study on adat will not reflect its legal consequences, the way of life and the identity of the Malays itself. Malay Customary law can be classified into two categories which are Adat Temenggong and Adat Pepateh. Adat Pepateh was followed by the Malays controlling Negeri Sembilan and some parts in Malacca, especially Naning. Adat Temenggong was applies to all other states. In both, the application of the adats are differs in some aspects. Maxwell R in Chulas v Kolson, allows the usage of customary law as

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