Minister Hopes To Introduce Anti-Stalking Law Within Year

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For illustration only – picture credit – independent

KUALA LUMPUR: Individuals who stalk, peep or pry upon another person will face legal action and punishment once the proposed legislation on the matter is brought to Parliament for debate and approval this year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, said he had received all the important documents pertaining to the Bill to study and once done, would forward it to the Attorney General Chambers for review and to the Cabinet for approval.

“I am now looking into the proposed Bill. It can be done quite quickly if there is a will. I am looking at (the possibility to table it in Parliament) this year. I don’t think we can do it during this (Parliament) session in March because it is a bit too short, but we can look forward to (the sessions in) July and October.

VK LIEW

“It can be done quite quickly once the papers are all ready. This is a Bill against stalking, peeping and prying,” he told RTM, Bernama, Malaysiakini and Sin Chew Daily on the sideline of the Asia Regional Conference on Women’s Political Leadership: Creating Positive Change, at the Parliament Building here today.

He said, at present, the authorities were using laws related to criminal intimidation or assault in which the offender has to be proved to have touched or intimidated the victim first, and the victim must have evidence such as video clip to prove the crime.

“Sometimes when a woman was being chased, she could not record it on camera, so she will just go to the police station but the police will say that there is no solid evidence for them to take action. She cannot prove whether the suspect touched or hit her, but you know that when you are being stalked or pried upon by someone, the fear lingers on.

“The suspect can use the smartphone, WhatsApp messages and social media to pressure the victim.

“So, with this new legislation, we don’t have to wait until the suspect touches, hit or do something to the victim. We don’t have to wait for that. If there’s a pattern, the police can take action,” he said.

Liew also noted that there was a high possibility for the victim of stalking to suffer severe depression and anxiety disorder to the extent of committing suicide, hence the urgent need for the Bill to be tabled and approved.

He explained that the effort to table the Bill was also a measure to prevent possible crime from happening to any individual who might have been stalked or pried upon for months.

“Let’s not wait for something bad to happen before we act. Sometimes, the stalker might think that he had done enough stalking and would begin to commit an act of violence.

“We don’t want that to happen and jeopardise the safety of the victim. So, we must have a law to protect stalking victims,” he added.