Women’s rights group hopes proposed anti-stalking law will encompass cyberstalking

Keyboard. — Dayakdaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, Jan 28: Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) today applauded the federal government’s plan to make stalking a crime.

Currently, there are no anti-stalking laws in Malaysia, meaning victims of stalking have no avenue to turn to for protection, SWWS said in a statement today.

“SWWS, therefore, welcomes the Ministry of Law’s review and recommends any proposed legislation also covers the act of stalking within the cyber realm.”

Victims of stalking, SWWS pointed out, usually had no choice but to just wait and see if the act of stalking escalates further into the criminal act of causing physical harm. If it does, then the police could take action.

“However, it is too late as the fear evoked by the stalker has been realised.

“When there is legislation against stalking, physical harm can be prevented and psychological stress reduced.”

SWWS also noted that survivors of domestic violence feared being stalked by their ex-partners, so tougher laws would help them be free of their abusers, it suggested.

SWWS said stalking could cause detrimental effects on the victims’ mental and emotional health, and this could be as damaging as physical violence.

Furthermore, it added, the act of stalking, if not prevented or curbed, would likely lead to sexual harassment, as shown by complaints received from the victims of such harassment.

On Jan 24, de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, in a statement, said his ministry would look into enacting anti-stalking laws and get input from stakeholders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the public.

He said the act of stalking had to be classified as a crime because it could cause feelings of being threatened and not feeling safe for the victims.

Liew said that several countries, including in Asia, had such laws, where action would be taken if complaints were received by the authorities. — DayakDaily