Amendments passed to make stalking a crime

KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments which make stalking a crime in Malaysia have been passed in the Dewan Rakyat.

The amendments to the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) were tabled for the second and third readings on Monday (Oct 3) by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

In tabling the Bill for amendments to the Penal Code, Mas Ermieyati said the law was needed to complement the anti-sexual harassment law passed in the last Dewan Rakyat meeting.

She said the anti-stalking provision is for criminal offences while the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill was more for civil claims.

“The burden of proof for both laws is different, which is why we need this amendment to fill the lacuna in the anti-sexual harassment law, and (the laws) can complement one another,” she said.

The Bill tabled Monday sought to amend the Penal Code (Act 574) to introduce a new section, 507A.

It states that a person is deemed to have committed stalking if the individual repeatedly, by any act of harassment, intends to cause – or ought to know that such an act causes – distress, fear or alarm to any person with regard to their safety.

Those convicted may be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years, a fine or both.

As for the CPC, the amendments among others seek to introduce a new chapter into Act 593 to empower the court, upon application, to issue a protection order against a person who is being investigated for, or is charged with, an offence of stalking under the new Section 507A of the Penal Code.

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