The Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996


The Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 is a seventy page document by the Malaysian government that regulates the private tertiary educational institutions (PHEI’s) and tertiary students.

The following important areas are covered by the Act: regulations pertaining to establishment of a PHEI as a university, University College or branch campus, registration of the PHEI, management of the PHEI, conduct of courses, discipline and conduct of tertiary students.

Other areas include permits to teach, revocation and cancellation of a registered tertiary institution, statutory inspection of a tertiary institution, closing down of an institution, proceedings for investigation of an institution, offences and penalties for institutions and the Ministers’ powers in overseeing the operation of PHEI’s.

The important focus will be on how the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act impacts on the actions of tertiary students. The section on discipline and conduct of tertiary students will be discussed and the consequences of violation clarified.

This will serve to inform, protect and safeguard tertiary students throughout their duration of study in Malaysia.

This can result in huge cost savings and priceless value addition to the student who has made the smart decision of benefiting from the “best value” information and services we provide free to tertiary students.

Moreover, prospective students intending to study in Malaysia can also benefit in being more prepared for study life in Malaysia.

Relevance Of The Private Higher Educational Institutions Act to tertiary students

This Act is relevant to tertiary students by stating the following:

  1. All course of study is required to be conducted using the national language, however, where the Minister consents, PHEI’s may conduct studies in English or Arabic.
  2. The Minister has powers to prescribe the National language to be taught in PHEI’s especially in the case of Malaysians.
  3. Students must recognize that the chief executive of the institution is mandated by law to administer discipline as required to any student when required. A chief executive of an institution refers to the person responsible for the PHEI. A student is regarded as one who is receiving training, education or teaching in a PHEI.
  4. Any student while enrolled in a PHEI must not sympathize or be associated with any political party whether in Malaysia or abroad except with the permission of the Registrar General of PHEI. A Registrar general is a person appointed by the Minister and vested with the powers of the constitution to control the operations of PHEI’s.
  5. No student organization, association or affiliations should align, belong or support any political party, association, trade union or engage in any action that may be construed as sympathizing or supporting the above mentioned organizations except sanctioned by the Registrar General.
  6. Where an offence has been or is purported to have been committed within a student association, organization or society, all the persons managing, assisting to manage and the office bearer of the student organization shall be deemed guilty as described by law and liable to punishment until a competent court is satisfied that the offence was committed without the student member knowledge and the student member has exercised all due negligence. Notwithstanding, an office bearer of the student association will still be prosecuted irrespective of his knowledge of the offence committed in the student association or not.
  7. The Registrar General is empowered to direct the chief executive of any PHEI to dissolve any student association or society where he determines that the activities of the student association threaten the security of Malaysia, detrimental to public interest and/or the students.
  8. The Registrar General may liaise with the Minister on some cases and prescribe the expulsion of any tertiary student.


  1. A student who fails to comply with (1 – 3) above shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction shall be liable to pay a fine not more than one thousand Ringgits.

Private Higher Educational Institutions Amendment Act 2009 (Act A1352)

  1. The definition of student was amended to include those studying part time, distance, exchange or people pursuing a non graduating course of study in addition to people undergoing training, education and pursuing a course of study on a full time basis.
  2. Number 1 and 2 was above was amended to allow PHEI’s to conduct studies in any other language desirable but subject to the approval of the Minister.
  3. Where a student appears before a PHEI disciplinary process, the student shall be given an opportunity to defend himself and where the student is found in violation of any rule by the chief executive of the PHEI, the student if not in agreement with the decision shall notify the Registrar General in writing within fourteen days of receiving such decision. The Registrar General will investigate and decide on the appeal within thirty days.
  4. The consequence was amended to note that any student found contravening these rule will be liable to any disciplinary action.
  5. Number 6 was amended to state that where an offence is committed or purported to be committed by a student association every student of a PHEI found in association with the offence and convicted shall be subject to disciplinary action.
  6. A suspended, detained or restrained student by any law enforcement or court may be allowed, subject to the Registrar General approval, to attain to examinations in the PHEI, admitted in any other institution or the same institution and if released or acquitted will be allowed to resume his studies.


Since ignorance is no excuse at law, tertiary students in Malaysia will ensure awareness of the laws of the country and avoid the huge cost of legal representation. The easy way is to stay updated with legal information here as it relates to tertiary students.

Department of Higher Education Malaysia.

Take me back to the top of the page

Return from Higher educational institutions to Legal self help information for students

Return from Higher educational institutions to Student services Home Page

New! Comments

Have a great idea or comments? Have your say about what you just read on this page! Leave me a comment in the box below.If you like what you read, please provide us feedback before you leave by clicking on the "Like" button on top or below the Navigation bar on the left.Thank you.