Cabinet nod for bite to check mule account crimes

PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet has endorsed proposals for policy and a draft Bill to amend the Penal Code (Act 574) and the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 593), targeting online crime involving mule accounts, to be presented in Parliament during the ongoing session.

The draft 2024 Penal Code (Amendment) Bill includes specific provisions addressing the use of mule accounts, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

“These amendments proposed penalties if any person is found in possession of another’s payment instrument without authority or legitimate purpose, and if anyone allows their payment instrument to be used by another without such authority or purpose,” she said in a statement yesterday, Bernama reported.

Azalina emphasised the urgency of amending the Penal Code (Act 574) to keep pace with rapid technological advancements, which are frequently exploited by criminals.

She said the proposed 2024 Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill introduces new procedural provisions empowering police to direct the seizure of funds in bank accounts suspected of involvement in criminal activities.

On Thursday, Azalina had said in Parliament that the amendments are expected to be tabled in the next Parliament sitting in October.

She had mentioned that such criminal activities could be curbed effectively and comprehensively through amendments to the two Acts.

She had also said the existing laws have no provisions that allocate for the offences of bank account owners allowing their accounts to be used by other parties for illegal activities hence, there is an urgent need to protect the public from being exposed to become victims of online fraud.

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