Higher mortality rates among males are a common occurrence across different cultures and countries. The causes of this higher mortality can be biological as well as behavioural in nature. The biological evidence applies across all nations and communities, but the behavioural causes, arising from the decision processes and communication strategies of individuals, will necessarily have cultural and environmental dimensions that change with time. This study examines gender disparities in mortality across ethnicity and time in Malaysia. The study shows that there is a consistent gender differential across time but it has widened for the Malays and the Indians and narrowed for the Chinese. Most importantly, it has widened considerably for young adults. Analysis of the leading causes of death show that young adult males are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour, and that the related causes and the extent of such causes vary across the ethnic groups.