Money laundering and civil
Centre for Pre-University Studies, Tunku Abdul Rahman University
College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and
Aspalella A. Rahman
School of Law, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Alor Star, Malaysia
Purpose – Money laundering is a complex issue which has been ongoing for many years globally.
Developed and developing countries form anti-money laundering regime in the view to combat these
ever-challenging criminal activities. Laundering of money involves the hiding and cleaning of “dirty
money” derived from unlawful activities. Malaysia has come up with its own regime of anti-money
laundering. Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA) provides
power to forfeit proceeds at the end of proceedings. This paper aims to investigate whether the current
civil forfeiture regime in Malaysia is effective in ghting against money laundering.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper will be based on a doctrinal research where reliance
will mainly be on relevant case laws and legislations. AMLATFA is the primary legislation which will
be utilised for the purpose of analysis.
Findings – Despite the enactment of AMLATFA, little study has been carried out on the effectiveness
of civil forfeiture regime under Malaysian anti-money laundering laws. Furthering into forfeiture of
criminal proceeds, the ndings show that forfeiture provisions are the recent law enforcement strategy
to ght against crimes. It is implicit that this strategy is more efcient than the conventional approach,
which only focused on punishing the individual criminal but failed to diminish the criminal operations
as a whole.
Originality/value – Strengths and weaknesses of AMLATFA are identied where it is less
comprehensive in terms of offences covered and standard of proof. With that, this paper analyses the
civil forfeiture regime under the Malaysian anti-money laundering laws. This paper would also offer
some guiding principles for academics, banks, their legal advisers, practitioners and policymakers, not
only in Malaysia but also elsewhere. Anti-money laundering laws can further be improved by being a
better and established civil forfeiture regime where Malaysia will be able to discharge its duties well on
forfeiting benets from criminals.
Keywords Malaysia, Money laundering, Civil forfeiture, AMLATFA, Criminal proceeds
Paper type Research paper
Money laundering is regarded as a form of crime, whereby it facilitates criminals in
having the benet of hiding the proceeds without being traced and prosecuted. As such,
money laundering is, indeed, a process where criminals use a variety of methods in
legalising “dirty money” which has been obtained from illegal activities, and those
methods involve nancial, accounting and legal tools. Money laundering is typically
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Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.19 No. 4, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited