A recent video of a woman confronting a motorcyclist who'd been following her around her neighbourhood went viral on social media and emphasised again the need for anti-stalking laws, says Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) deputy executive officer Yu Ren Chung.
"Yet again, we see a woman voice out her experience with stalking in Malaysia. A study done by WAO and market researcher Vase.ai last year suggests that a third of Malaysians – and 39% of women in Malaysia – have experienced stalking which caused them fear. A survey this year by AWAM and political science and social behavioral research firm Cent-GPS found that 25% of young Malaysian women have experienced being followed home.
"Stalking is still not a crime in Malaysia, so authorities' hands are tied, and survivors are not protected. That's why stakeholders from across the board - PDRM, NGOs, the public, policymakers - have been pushing together to make stalking a crime in Malaysia.
"And in fact a draft has been produced by the government.
"We urge the Law Minister and Deputy Minister to not put off this law reform any further," says Yu.
In the viral video uploaded on TikTok two days ago, a woman cyclist confronted a man whom she claimed had been following her on his motorcycle as she pedaled around her neighbourhood at night. When she asked him why he was following her, the man said that he was just roaming (ronda) around the neighbourhood. The woman didn't back down and kept pressing him about why he kept tailing her if he was "just roaming". She then told him not to follow her and to "get lost" and started screaming for help.
In a subsequent post on TikTok, the woman (@psychomoonchildbuddy) explained when she noticed the man following her and shared the events that transpired after.
In a statement in response to the video, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said she was "affected" by the video, saying that stalking needs to be classified as a crime.
"Many countries have classified stalking as a crime, for example the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Afghanistan, India, Singapore, Mongolia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.
"Stalking can be classified as a crime because of the impact on a person's life. It can also lead to violence, depression and lead a person to have suicidal thoughts. It particularly impacts women, as is apparent in the results of a study by WAO in 2020.
"Staking behaviours on social media is also something I regard very seriously and I will be meeting the various stakeholders on this issue soon," says Mas Ermieyati in her statement.