Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of separation of cash flow rights (CFR) and control rights (CR) and debt policy of Malaysian listed family firms. Design/methodology/approach – The sample of this study consists of 256 observations from companies listed in the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia for the period between year 2005 and 2009. The multivariate ordinary least square regressions have been conducted in order to examine the relationships between separation of CFR and CR and debt. Findings – The study reveals that the separation of CFR and CR does not lead to the increase of debt policy among Malaysian listed family-owned firms. Thus, the results suggest there is no expropriation of minority interests in Malaysian family-owned firms. The plausible reason is that Malaysia has better investor or shareholder protection laws compared to other emerging markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines. Research limitations/implications – The first limitation is the underestimation of CFR and CR because the affiliated business of unlisted firms and foreign companies are excluded. The second limitation is the presence of 100 percent ownership in firms controlled by family-owned firms or in firms that are controlled by another firms which are under the controlled of family-owned firms, or both, will lead to equal proportion of CFR and CR. Thus, the degree of separation of CFR and CR of such firms are indeterminable. Originality/value – This paper investigates the expropriation of minority interests by Malaysian family-owned firms on which has not been explored.