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Malaysia: The Hardest choices Require The strongest Wills: The principle Of life Wills and also Lasting powers Of lawyer

As the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia continues to escalate, anincreasing variety of Malaysians and also their loved ones are suddenlyconfronted through the fragility the life and also the terrifying prospectof one abrupt and also unexpected death. There is additionally a farming concernamong Malaysians about their welfare in the occasion that lock sufferfrom physical or psychological impairments. These have led an ext Malaysiansto enquire around making a Living will and/or a Lasting power ofAttorney ("LPA") (sometimes referred toas a resilient Power of Attorney).

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A living Will, in straightforward terms, permits a human being to state his orher desire in respect of medical health treatment in breakthrough and thedocument may then be referred to at the time when the human being is nolonger capable of making or communicating their desire anddecisions. This is come be differentiated from a LPA i m sorry is adocument that enables its maker to appoint an additional person as his orher lawyer to make decisions or bring out the maker'sdirections ~ above the maker's behalf once he or she is unable to doso.

This article will highlight and also explain several of the features ofa life Will and a LPA and the legal obstacles ofimplementing such concepts in Malaysia.

What is a living Will?

A Living will certainly is a type of development directive which permits itsmaker to do anticipatory decisions and also give instructionspertaining to his or she future clinical care and treatment in theevent that or she i do not care incapable of together decision-making. Uneven aregular will certainly which takes effect upon the fatality of the maker, aLiving will certainly takes effect during the maker's lifetime—morespecifically, at the time once the machine is no much longer able come makeor interact his or she decisions, it is in it due to condition or mentalimpairment. A life Will allows its machine to decide on his or herend-of-life treatment ahead the time. Because that example, whetherlife-sustaining procedures such as man-made nutrition orlife-sustaining makers may be offered to extend his or she life. Ina sense, having a Living will may enable its maker to defend andpreserve his or she autonomy and also dignity throughout the last stages oflife.

Where there's a Will—The place of life Wills inthe UK and Singapore:

United Kingdom

Living Wills or breakthrough Decisions (as for this reason termed in the UK) aregoverned under the mental Capacity action 2005 ("MCA2005"). An breakthrough Decision would only be acted uponwhen it is figured out that the relevant human being lacks the capacityto do a specific decision in ~ the material time. The MCA 2005expressly sets the end statutory principles to be applied whichinclude, inter alia, the following: 

a person must be assumed to have actually capacity uneven it isestablished that he lacks capacity;a human is no to be treated together unable to make a decisionunless every practicable steps to help him to perform so have been takenwithout success; anda human is not to be treated together unable to do a decisionmerely since he provides an unwise decision.

A human lacks capacity if at the material time the is can not tomake a decision for himself in relation to the matter since of animpairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of the psychic orbrain, regardless of whether the handicap or disturbance ispermanent or temporary. Crucially, it should be noted that aperson's absence of capacity cannot be established simply byreference to the person's age, appearance, a condition of his,or an element of his action which can lead rather to makeunjustified assumptions around hiscapacity.1 However, a human is can not to do adecision for self if it is determined that that is unable tounderstand or maintain the information relevant to the decision, useor sweet such information as component of the decision-making process orcommunicate his decision (whether by talking or any othermeans).2

It should be detailed that an development Decision in the UK consist of aperson's refusal in terms of undergoing specific species ofmedical treatment and also should no be confused with one AdvanceStatement which sets the end a person's wishes, preferences,beliefs and also values in relationship to their future care. The former islegally binding in the UK whilst the latter is not.


Living Wills or advancement Medical Directives (as for this reason termed inSingapore) room governed under the breakthrough Medical Directive Act1996 ("AMDA 1996"). Advance MedicalDirectives may be supplied to refuse any kind of "extraordinarylife-sustaining treatment" i beg your pardon is defined under the AMDA1996 as any kind of medical procedure which, once administered to aterminally okay patient, will certainly only prolong the procedure of dying whendeath is imminent, but excludes palliativecare.3 An development Medical Directive will just comeinto effect in certain circumstances where the relevantperson: 

is enduring from a terminal illness4;requires particularly life-sustaining treatment; andis unconscious or i can not qualify of working out rationaljudgment.5

Interestingly, the AMDA 1996 provides it an offence because that a personwho has actually or who will likely have the medical care of any kind of patient toenquire if the patient has actually made or intends to make an AdvanceMedical Directive.6 It is most likely that the rationalefor such confidentiality is to protect against the expertise of theexistence the an breakthrough Medical Directive or the lack thereof fromcolouring the judgment of clinical practitioners as to what courseof action or treatment would be in finest interest the theirpatients.

Let Thy will be Done?—The current Position of LivingWills in Malaysia

At present, over there is no legislation or regulatory tool inMalaysia that particularly recognises or governs the concept ofLiving Wills. Although not formally recognised in Malaysia, theguidelines authorize by the Malaysian clinical Council (MMC) ~ above Consentfor therapy of patient by Registered medical Practitionersspecifically recognises the use of living Wills in the medicalpractice ar in Malaysia where a patient deserve to make an unequivocalwritten directive i m sorry prohibits the administration or provisionof a details treatment or procedure in specific circumstances.However, this chandelier not apply where the patient's directivecontains instructions for illegal tasks such as euthanasia orthe termination of pregnancy.7

Some Malaysian medical professionals have promoted the require for therecognition of living Wills or advancement Medical Directives inMalaysia8 whilst rather including spiritual groupshave dubbed for clear guidelines to be issued including the rightof the next-of-kin of a patient to make decisions on instead of of thepatient.9

You've obtained the Power!—The ide of LPAs in UK andSingapore

It must be detailed that a living Will only covers a person'smedical and health treatment decisions. In this sense, a life Willalone is insufficient to cover and address a person's wishesin regards to his or her finances, assets, properties and otherpersonal affairs. Ideally, a living Will must be make togetherwith a LPA in countries that recognise both concepts. A LPA is adocument which enables its maker("donor") to appoint another person("donee") to make decisions top top thedonor's behalf in respect the his or her properties and also personalaffairs in the event that the donor loses his or she mentalcapacity.

The UK and Singapore likewise legislatively recognise the ide ofa LPA in addition to life Wills. The UK MCA 2005 and also theSingapore mental Capacity act 2008 ("MCA2008") administrate the best of a donor in the respectivecountries to do a LPA i beg your pardon confers top top a donee or donees theauthority to do decisions in respect of the donor's personalwelfare, property and affairs or mentioned matters concerningthereof.10 As such, in addition to a living Will,it is also possible for a donor in those nations to delegateauthority come a donee or donees vide a LPA to make decisions on thedonor's behalf in the event that the donor loses volume inthe future. However, relying on the donor's separation, personal, instance wishesand needs, a LPA alone may sometimes suffice.

Under the UK MCA 2005, whereby a LPA authorises a donee come makedecisions around the donor's an individual welfare, together authority(subject to any kind of conditions or restrictions proclaimed in the LPA) wouldalso expand to the providing or refusing that consent to carry out orcontinue a clinical treatment for thedonor.11 However, the donee may not offer or refuseconsent for life-sustaining therapy unless the LPA grantedspecifically authorises the donee to do so.12

Conversely, under the Singapore MCA 2008, in order for adonee's authority to prolong to the offering or refusing ofconsent because that treatment, the LPA granted should contain an expressprovision empowering the donee with suchauthority.13 However, notwithstanding any kind of provisionin the LPA, a donee may not make any decisionwith respect come the moving out or extension of life-sustainingtreatment top top the donor or any other therapy on the donor i beg your pardon aperson providing health treatment reasonably to trust is crucial toprevent a serious deterioration in the donor'scondition.14

It must likewise be noted that LPAs, whether developed pursuant come theUK MCA 2005 or the Singapore MCA 2008, must very first be dulyregistered through the offices of the public Guardian("OPG") in the respective countries inorder to it is in valid and also effective.15 In the UK, adistinction is drawn in between a LPA for health and also welfare, and aLPA for property and also financial affairs. As such, two separate LPAsmust be made and registered with the OPG in UK whereby a donor wishesto give power and also authority to his or her donee for bothaspects.

On the various other hand, in Singapore, a donor may provide powers come hisor her donee in respect that both an individual welfare as well asproperty and affairs under a solitary LPA. A donor likewise has theflexibility to select whether to have actually the typical version of LPA(LPA kind 1) i beg your pardon grants general powers with simple restrictions todonees or a non-standard variation of LPA (LPA kind 2) i beg your pardon allowsthe donor to approve customised strength to your donees. A customisedLPA will enable the donor to craft a LPA i m sorry will finest cater forhis or her individual needs.

The current Position that LPAs in Malaysia

Unlike the UK and Singapore, Malaysia does not recognise theconcept that LPAs. In Malaysia, a donor may provide a power of Attorney("PA") to a donee or donees come makedecisions or to lug out the donor's directions on thedonor's behalf in respect that his or she properties and personalaffairs. However, the PA granted end to have result once thesaid donor is adjudged to have lost his or her psychological capacity.This is regulation in ar 5 of the Malaysian power of AttorneyAct 1949 ("PAA 1949") which claims thata PA duly registered and also deposited with the High Court of Malaya isvalid and shall continue to be in pressure until, among other things,where the donor has actually been adjudged to be of unsound mind. This thenultimately defeat the objective of developing a PA in instances where thedonee is appointed to make decisions or bring out the donor'sdirections wherein the latter has actually lost his or her capacity.

However, particular exceptions to ar 5 room encapsulated insections 6 and 7 that the PAA 1949. Under these provisions ofthe PAA 1949, an irrevocable PA offered for valuable consideration ora PA express to it is in irrevocable because that a fixed time, even if it is givenfor valuable consideration or not, shall no be revoked at any kind of timeby, among other things, the mental disorder and unsoundness of mindof the donor. However, it should be provided that the legislativeprovisions specifically state that the PA shall not berevoked in favour that a purchaser.This says that whereby a donee under an irrevocable PA had soldthe home of a holy ghost incapacitated donor come a purchaser, theutilisation of together powers through the donee in pursuance the the PA andthe revenue of the property to the purchaser shall it is in valid. Thislegal place is supported per  obiterdictum by the Court of very nice one in SidambaramTorosamy v Lok bee Yong <2018> 3 CLJ 599.

As such, it would seem that aside from the aforementionedcircumstance, an irrevocable PA would certainly be revoked wherein the donorhas to be adjudged to be of unsound psychic in accordance through section5 the the PAA 1949. Whilst the PAA 1949 or the Malaysian MentalHealth plot 2001 execute not clarify the exact circumstance of when adonor would certainly be "adjudged to be of unsound mind", the isassumed the this is when a medical expert with the requisiteexpertise has actually judged and also determined the donor to be of unsoundmind. In this sense, a PA would certainly not be of great assistance come adonor that wishes to provide powers to a donee in bespeak to permit thedonee to regulate and/or utilise the donor's assets and also funds toprovide and also care for the donor in the event the donor becomesmentally incapacitated.

To to trust or no to Trust?

Other than a LPA, a to trust structure can potentially be offered toaddress concerns in respect that a person's maintenance andfinancial work in the occasion that the or she loser his or hermental and/or physical capacity. A possible structure come beconsidered is where, an individual (known together the settlor of thetrust) sets increase a trust and specifies in the trust file that theincome or funds of the trust is come be supplied only for the function ofhis or her benefit in the occasion he or she i do not care mentally orphysically incapacitated or in the situations specified in thetrust document. For example, the trust funds might be supplied for themaintenance, life accommodation, medical treatment or other needs ofthe settlor such regarding pay because that the cost of use a personalcaregiver where the need arises.

The over structure contemplates appointing a trustee ortrustees to manage the trust and the setup aside the sufficientfunds in breakthrough for the functions of the trust. Further, in orderto validly constitute the trust, the settlor need to vest the trustfund in the trustee. This means that the settlor should transfer thetrust funds to his or her appointed trustee. This equipment is notwithout shortcomings as there is always the possibility of abuse bythe trustee and also this is particularly perilous further down the linewhen the settlor has actually lost psychological capacity. As a safeguard, that wouldbe prudent for the settlor to choose at the very least two people asco-trustees that would have equal strength in relation to the trustand have to act jointly in the exercise of your powers.

As the setup up of a to trust is fraught with countless legalconsiderations and also complications, that is always advisable for thesettlor to obtain legal advice native an professional in this area beforesetting up a trust.


Whilst the social and spiritual beliefs in Malaysia might causesome Malaysians to consider the concept of life Wills to it is in ataboo, it is undeniable that having a life Will has its benefits.In particular, it allows its maker to do decisions andarrangements for his or her end-of-life care in development whilst heor she is still mentally competent. For patients who room terminallyill and faced v the prospect of progressively losing your faculties,making a Living will certainly may aid them to get a sense of manage overtheir future and enable their desire to be brought out also whenthey space no much longer able to connect such wishes.

Similarly, a LPA is additionally useful to enable persons to obtain theirproperty and also financial work in order whilst they space stillmentally competent and also appoint a trusted donee or donees to makedecisions or lug their directions into impact once they losetheir mental and/or physics capacities. In that regard, westrongly support for regulation reform to administer for legitimate recognitionof the ide of living Wills and LPAs in Malaysia.


1 sections 2(1), 2(2) and also 2(3) the the MCA2005.

2 section 3(1) the the MCA 2005.

3 section 2 that the AMDA 1996 defines "palliativecare" to include the provision of reasonable medicalprocedures because that the relief the pain, enduring or discomfort and also thereasonable supplication of food and water.

4 A Certificate of Terminal condition must it is in issued bythree doctors consisting of the appropriate person's attending doctorwho must all unanimously certify the person's terminal illness;"terminal illness" has actually been characterized in section 2 of theAMDA 1996 to typical an incurable problem caused by injury ordisease indigenous which there is no reasonable prospect of a temporaryor long-term recovery where: (a) fatality would, in ~ reasonablemedical judgment, be impending regardless that the applications ofextraordinary life-sustaining treatment; and (b) the applications ofextraordinary life-sustaining treatment would just serve topostpone the moment of death of the patient.

5 ar 9 the the AMDA 1996.

6 ar 15(1) the the AMDA 1996.

7 https://mmc.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Consent_Guideline_21062016.pdf,'Consent for treatment of patient by Registered MedicalPractitioners' (Paragraph 18).

10 ar 9 that the MCA 2005 and also section 11 of theSingapore MCA 2008.

11 section 11(7)(c) the the MCA 2005.

12 ar 11(8)(a) the the MCA 2005.

13 ar 13(6) the the Singapore MCA 2008.

14 ar 13(8) the the Singapore MCA 2008.

15 Schedule 1, paragraph 4 that the MCA 2005 and the FirstSchedule, paragraph 4 of the Singapore MCA 2008.

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Originally published 13 august 2021

The contents of this article is plan to carry out a generalguide come the subject matter. Professional advice should be soughtabout your details circumstances.