Liew: Govt may enact anti-stalking law

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 24 Jan 2019

PETALING JAYA: The government is looking into the possibility of enacting anti-stalking laws in the country, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

He said they would look into the matter seriously and get the input of stakeholders, NGOs and the public.

“The act of stalking has to be classified as a crime, because it can cause the feelings of being threatened and not feeling safe for the victims,” Liew said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 24).

Liew who is de-facto law minister, said that several countries, including in Asia, had such laws, where action would be taken if complaints were received by the authorities.

He said stalking can cause victims to suffer from emotional stress and cause disturbance to everyday life, apart from affecting the performance in their daily activities and responsibilities to their families.

“At the moment, there are no laws to deal with stalking, as it is difficult to prove unless there are physical injuries or more suffered by the victim,” he said.

Liew said this modern-day crime can begin with harassment through messaging platforms, social media, telephone calls and emails, before it before progressing to such acts as following their victims around.

The Judicial Education Center (JEC) of the University of New Mexico defines “stalking” as a term used to refer to a pattern of behaviour directed towards an individual by another that results in the person to whom the behaviour is directed, fearing for themselves or those close to them.

It says this could involve overtly criminal or seemingly non-criminal behaviour, and that it could escalate and ultimately result in actual physical harm to its intended subject.

Examples of stalking include threatening the victim, following the victim, visiting the victim at work, using technology to gather information about the victim and harming their pets.

The Women's Aid Oganisation (WAO) has previously called on lawmakers to urgently pass such a law to make stalking an offence in the Penal Code and to introduce a restraining order against stalkers in the Criminal Procedure Code.

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