About Notaries Public
In Malaysia, the powers of notaries public are governed by the Notaries Public Act 1959. Section 4 of the Act says:
- A Malaysian notary public has the same powers and functions as a notary public in England;
- A notary public may administer oaths and affirmations for affidavits and statutory declarations:
- for proving the due execution of any document;
- for matters pertaining to a sea vessel;
- for the purpose of being used in any place or court outside Malaysia.
A Malaysian notary public's powers do not extend to administering or affirming any affidavit or statutory declaration which is executed for the purpose of being used in any court or place in Malaysia, or to take or attest any such affidavit or statutory declaration. (Instead, the services of a Commissioner for Oaths should be sought.)
The Powers of a Notary Public in England
Earlier, we noted that a notary public in Malaysia has the same powers as a notary public in England, by section 4 of the Notaries Public Act 1959. What are these powers? The following information is based on Vol. 31, Halsbury’s Statutes of England and Wales (4th Edition), Butterworth & Co. 1987.
A certified notary public in England is able to:
- Draw or prepare any instrument relating to real or personal estate, or legal proceedings;
- Draw or prepare any instrument or charge under the Land Registration Act 1925;
- Take instructions for or to draw or prepare any papers on which to found or oppose a grant of probate or of letters of administration;
- Take declarations concerning actions or intended actions for debt or accounts brought outside the United Kingdom within the dominions of the Crown, or concerning property situated in such dominions;
- Take declaration of an attesting witness to prove the execution of any will or codicil, deed or instrument in writing;
- Take declarations, oaths and affidavits relating to stamps;
- Exercise the powers of a commissioner for oaths (if the notary public is in London);
- Prepare deeds and documents to take effect in the overseas dominions of the Crown or in foreign countries;
- Verify and authenticate execution of deeds, documents, contracts and powers of attorney;
- Authenticate and verify examined copies of documents;
- Prepare bottomry and respondentia bonds, average agreements and other mercantile agreements;
- Translate and verfy documents from English into a foreign language and vice versa;
- Draw foreign bonds and debenture stock;
- Act as commissioner for oaths under Commissions granted by Commonwealth or foreign authorities;
- In relation to bills of exchange:
(a) present inland or foreign bills of exchange for acceptance or payment;
(b) note and protest bills in cases of dishonour;
(c) prepare acts of honour;
- Prepare “ship’s protest” and protest concerning demurrage and other commercial documents.
Affidavits sworn before a notary public and instruments authenticated by him are receivable as evidence in foreign courts.
Who May Take Oaths Before A Notary Public
Section 6(1) of the Oaths and Affirmations Act 1949 provides that oaths shall be taken by:
- Witnesses, i.e. all persons who may be lawfully examined, or give or be required to give evidence, by or before any court or person having authority to examine such person or to receive evidence;
- Interpreters of questions put to and of evidence given by witnesses;
- Translators; and
Section 7 of the Oaths and Affirmations Act 1949 provides that any person required to take an oath under any other written law shall be deemed to have complied if s/he makes an affirmation.