Commissioner for Oaths Malaysia


A Commissioner for Oaths is a vital role in the Malaysian judicial system. The position is found commonly, in many areas of law, helping the courts to function and deliver justice for the people of Malaysia.

Their role shouldn’t be confused with that of a notary public, even though the work of the two may appear similar. This article explains what a Commissioner for Oaths is and who can become one, so that you can choose the correct official for your circumstances. Choosing the wrong official can harm your legal position, and should be avoided at all costs.

The role of a Commissioner for Oaths in Malaysia

Put simply, a Commissioner for Oaths is someone who is legally allowed to verify that important documents like affidavits, or an individual’s statutory declarations, comply with the law. They verify that these documents can be used in the Malaysian legal system.

The Commissioner for Oaths can also administer a declaration, oath or affirmation. Indeed, if your affirmation or oath is to be used in a court of law or other tribunal or quasi-judicial agency, it can only be administered by a Commissioner for Oaths.

Commissioner for Oaths vs Notary Public

These similar positions are in fact different. Perhaps the most important difference is that a Notary Public can only verify the legality of documents by confirming signatures, oaths and other requirements for overseas use only. Your legal position may be harmed if you intend to rely on documents in a Malaysian court which have been authorised by a Notary Public.

The work of a Commissioner for Oaths

The main role of the legal official known as a Commissioner for Oaths is to make sure that certain documents created for use in court—such as affidavits or other documents used in court like financial statements—are statutorily and legally compliant. Although known by legal names, many of these documents are simple to understand.

Affidavit: this is a document that acts as a sworn statement verifying the truth about a matter. For instance, if you want to record your testimony that you were present somewhere at a certain time and date, to corroborate someone else’s account, you would use an affidavit. You swear that it is the truth.

Statutory declaration: some people use a Commissioner for Oaths to get a statutory declaration. For example, someone filing a financial statement must make sure it complies with the law, and must ensure its accuracy and legality, with the help of a Commissioner for Oaths.

Other legal documents: the Commissioner for Oaths will work with you to verify any other legal documents you intend to rely on, so that all legal requirements are satisfied.

There are a range of services that a Commissioner for Oaths can carry out, relating to a variety of different documents. If you are wanting to use their services when you sign a document, you must visit in person because they will need to witness your signature. This is so that any third parties will know that the proper legal process has been followed; the commissioner’s stamp is a guarantee of this. Note, however, that if there is more than one person whose signature is needed, they must all sign in person. It is not enough that one person signs on behalf of them all.

The Commissioner will read the content of the document and check that you are able to actually sign it. For example, you will need to be a certain age to sign some documents, or you may have some kind of incapacity which renders you unable to sign.

Finally, it is the Commissioner’s role to ensure that you understand the document you are putting your signature to. There will often be complex legal terminology or phraseology which is not familiar to a person who is not legally trained. This will be explained by the Commissioner so you appreciate how it will impact you if you sign the document.

If the Commissioner for Oaths is a solicitor, then they can perform many different tasks. This can include receiving acknowledgements of bail bonds and from married women; administering oaths in situations such a justifying bail; pleas; demurrer; responding to actions; swearing in executors/administrators; examining witnesses; taking/receiving an answer, and much more.

However, generally a Commissioner for Oaths may not be a witness for a document, unless they have been authorised to do so by virtue of a relevant law such as the Hire Purchase Act, the Moneylenders Act, the Sabah Land Ordinance, or the Legal Professions Act.

Becoming a Commissioner for Oaths

It is not necessary to be a solicitor in order to be a Commissioner for Oaths, but some commissioners are. They will always be appointed by the Chief Justice. Other requirement for being a Commissioner for Oaths include being aged between 21 and 66, and holding an SPM or degree equivalent to that. There is a requirement that they are in good mental and physical health, and have not been declared bankrupt. They must also have a clean criminal record, and must not have been detained to prevent a crime.

There are further criteria which a Commissioner for Oaths must satisfy: they must be either a lawyer who has had seven or more years’ experience, or be a public official / officer in the government, or be a member of a body established by statute, or be someone whose past professional experience qualifies them to be a Commissioner.

I think I need a Commissioner for Oaths – what should I do?

Perhaps you need help with a statutory declaration, or affidavit or another legal document for use in a court? If so, then you should contact a Commissioner for Oaths and enquire as to whether they can help you.