Women’s group: New anti-stalking law should include deterrent against doxing

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) said today it welcomes the tabling of law amendments for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today which aim to criminalise stalking, but called for lawmakers to include doxing, interfering with property and spying to the list of acts of harassment.

The definition of stalking should be broadened to include continuous conduct and an effective period of stalking protection orders should be extended as well, the WAO proposed in a statement.

"When enacted, this law will help protect thousands of Malaysians who experience stalking each year. It will also prevent grievous injuries and even murders that are often preceded by stalking,” said the women’s rights organisation.

Doxing or doxxing, a term originating from the word “documents”, includes harvesting private information from publicly available data online or on social media, and broadcasting such information, usually to identify someone.

Lawyers previously polled by Malay Mail conceded that doxing on its own is not a criminal offence, although it could fall under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which handles improper use of network facilities or network service.

WAO said today that while the Bill recognised stalking as repeated acts, it can also be a single but continuous act such as when a stalker continuously follows a person from their office to the house.

It also listed doxing, interfering with property, and spying as other common stalking behaviours on top of those listed in the Bill.

The stalking law tabled today includes the amendment of the Penal Code which creates the offence of stalking and the Criminal Procedure Code which creates a protection order for stalking survivors.

The WAO said that initial versions of the law were developed by the Anti-Stalking Committee, which was made up of government agencies, WAO and the Bar Council, but that survivors of stalking also contributed.

It also said that all of its recommendations are in line with anti-stalking laws in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore and New Zealand.

"The government’s move to table the anti-stalking law is appreciated, and we look forward to continue working with the government and policymakers to pass the Bill,” it said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin tabled the Bill for its first reading today.

The offence of stalking shall be punished with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine or both.

In 2019, the government formed an anti-stalking committee tasked with looking at amendments to the law to make stalking a crime in Malaysia.

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