Those using fake accounts for stalking liable to face action

06 Apr 2023 08:33pm
Ramkarpal Singh
Ramkarpal Singh

KUALA LUMPUR - Any individual who uses a fake account to commit stalking may be subject to action if the identity can be traced through the system of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

This follows the passing in Dewan Negara, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2023 with a new section 507A inserted into the Penal Code (Act 574) for the offence of stalking.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal and Institutional Reforms) Ramkarpal Singh said the investigation will continue even if only fake accounts were used.

"In this regard, MCMC needs to take proactive steps to trace who is behind the fake account," he said when winding up the debate on the bill in Dewan Negara here today with six Senators participating in the debate earlier.

Ramkarpal said the issue of stalking is no longer a new issue since many countries have introduced laws regarding this in order to deal with the problem which is getting more and more worrying.

"The act of stalking today does not only involve physical acts as in the past, but is also carried out using social media as well as using detection tools such as global tracking system tools and even drones," he said.

According to Ramkarpal, the element that needs to be proven for the act of stalking according to Section 507A is that the act must be repeated at least twice followed by disturbance and the victim being in a state of stress or fear.

Besides, Ramkarpal said, if the investigation shows that the stalker carried out the stalking at the behest of another person, that person can also be charged under Section 34.

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" every principle offence, if there is a mastermind behind it, he can be charged with the common intention in committing that primary offence," he said.

Also passed is the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2023 involving protection provisions for victims in relation to stalking.

Earlier when tabling the bill, Ramkarpal said that one of the amendments involved Clause One, which is to empower the minister to set the effective date of the act.

"Secondly, to insert a new chapter and provision into Act 593 to empower the court on application, to issue a protection order against a person who is being investigated or accused under 507A of the Penal Code.

"Next is Clause Three which provides punishment for any party who disobeys the protection order which is imprisonment of up to one year or a fine or both," he said.

The Senate will sit again on Monday.- BERNAMA