Large consortia efforts and genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have linked a number of genetic variants within the 6p21 chromosomal region to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Complementing these efforts, we genotyped previously reported SNPs in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I (rs6457327) and class II (rs9271100, rs2647012 and rs10484561) regions in a total of 1,145 subjects (567 NHL cases and 578 healthy controls) from two major ethnic groups in Malaysia, the Malays and the Chinese. We identified a NHL-associated (PNHL_add = 0.0008; ORNHL_add = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.37-0.77) and B-cell associated (PBcell_add = 0.0007; ORBcell_add = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.35-0.76) SNP rs2647012 in the Malaysian Malays. In silico cis-eQTL analysis of rs2647012 suggests potential regulatory function of nearby HLA class II molecules. Minor allele rs2647012-T is linked to higher expression of HLA-DQB1, rendering a protective effect to NHL risk. Our findings suggest that the HLA class II region plays an important role in NHL etiology.