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Ray Of Hope for Survivors Of Stalking

Press Statement – For Immediate Publication

Kuala Lumpur, 29 March 2023

Ray Of Hope for Survivors Of Stalking

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) applauds the passing of the amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to #MakeStalkingACrime in the Dewan Rakyat. Once the amendments have been passed in the Dewan Negara and obtained royal assent, people experiencing stalking will be able to access safety and protection through the criminal justice system. This represents a significant step forward in improving Malaysia’s response to gender-based violence and a huge relief for countless survivors who were unable to seek protection.

The following are some key provisions of the amendments:

Definition of stalking: Stalking is defined as a repeated act of harassment which is intended or likely to cause distress, fear, or alarm to any person for their safety.

Actions that constitute stalking:

  1. Following or tracking a person in any manner or by any means, for example
    tracking using GPS devices.
  2. Communicating or attempting to communicate with a person in any manner or by any means. This includes online harassment.
  3. Loitering at the place of residence or business of a person.
  4. Giving or sending any thing to a person in any manner or by any means.

Violation of Protection orders is a seizable offence: If a survivor lodges a police report, they may apply for protection orders which prevent escalating harassment and retaliation from the perpetrator. If the protection order is violated, the perpetrator can be arrested.

A 2020 survey conducted by WAO and found that 88% of survey respondents have experienced an act associated with stalking. Of those that lodged police reports, many wished the police were empowered to do more. The new amendments will allow the police to investigate stalking cases more effectively, and may also help to prevent grievous injuries and murders, which are often preceded by stalking.

While we applaud the efforts in passing the amendments, we call on the government to also implement them swiftly, complemented by sensitivity training for PDRM, Department of Welfare, and MCMC officers. There must also be clear guidelines on correct terminology, management of online harassment and stalking cases as well as in issuing of protection orders.

The anti-stalking amendments are the result of years of work from activists, policymakers, several governments, and also survivors who were brave enough to share their stories. We would like to thank everyone for their efforts to #MakeStalkingACrime.

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