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WAO welcomes the government’s commitment to push forward anti-stalking legislation

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) welcomes the government’s announcement that a cabinet paper on making stalking an offence is being prepared.

This announcement was made by Datuk Seri Rina Harun, the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) in the Dewan Rakyat on 21st July 2020, in a written reply to a question from Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto. The cabinet paper is being prepared by the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Office (BHEUU).

We urge the government, in particular Datuk Seri Rina Harun and Law Minister YB. Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan to prioritise this legal reform.

Making stalking an offence will protect Malaysians, is in line with international practice, is supported by government frontliners and NGOs, and enjoys bipartisan support.

Stalking is currently not a crime in Malaysia, so if someone repeatedly contacts you, follows you, or shows up at places you frequent – in a way that would reasonably cause fear or emotional distress – there is little that the authorities can do. There is also no legal provision for stalking survivors to obtain a restraining order.

Making stalking an offence will put Malaysia in line with international practice. Countries that have specific legal provisions on stalking include, for example: Philippines, Japan, Australia, Afghanistan, India, Singapore, Mongolia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Czech Republic, and the UK.

This legal reform began in 2019. The process has been coordinated by a multi-stakeholder committee, which includes BHEUU, KPWKM, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Welfare Department, the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Home Ministry, the Bar Council, and WAO.

Creating laws to protect against stalking has received bipartisan support from various MPs, across the political divide. The following MPs have publicly stated their support for making stalking an offence:

Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Kasthuri Patto, Hannah Yeoh, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, Datuk Seri Rohani Karim, Dato’ Sri Azmin Ali, Wong Chen, Maria Chin Abdullah, Dato’ Sri Bung Moktar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Dr Hasan Bahrom, Thomas Su, Wong Tack, Fahmi Fadzil, Shamsul Iskandar, P. Prabakaran, Haji Ustaz Hasanuddin, Alice Lau, Chan Ming Kai, Larry Sng, Syed Ibrahim, Sim Tze Tzin, Wong Shu Qi, Wong Kah Who, Ma’mun Sulaiman, Charles Santiago, Sivarasa Rasiah, Darell Leiking, and Baru Bian (and MPs at the time Siti Mariah and Khoo Soo Seang).

 

About Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Since 1982, Women’s Aid Organisation has provided free shelter, counselling, and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse. We help women and their children rebuild their lives, after surviving domestic violence, rape, trafficking, and other atrocities. Learning from women’s experiences, we advocate to improve public policies and shift public mindsets. Together, we change lives.

Call the WAO Hotline at 03 7956 3488 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. For more information, visit wao.org.my.

 

For more information, please contact:

Natasha Dandavati, Head of Campaigns

natasha@wao.org.my

 

Yap Lay Sheng, Senior Research and Advocacy Officer

laysheng@wao.org.my / 60182747042

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