“My ex-husband and I had an abusive relationship. After we split up, he made repeated attempts to contact me through friends and family and even showed up at my place of employment. His calls and messages have been completely blocked.”

“After I turned down his request for dinner, he tried to be aggressive again, and this time it ended tragically for me.”

These are only two of the many situations a victim of stalking must suffer. In this article we’ll cover the anti stalking laws in Malaysia and discuss the following:

  • What is stalking?
  • Who goes on a stalking rampage?
  • Who is being stalked?
  • What effects does stalking have on the victim’s life?
  • Does stalking count as a crime in Malaysia?
  • Can people who have been the target of stalking seek justice in court?

Previously, Malaysian law did not criminalise the act of stalking. However, on March 29 of this year, the Parliament amended the existing Penal Code (Act 574) by inserting a new Section 507A to make stalking a criminal offence. Before we get into the details of the new law, let us look at what kinds of actions are considered stalking and why stalking laws need to be enforced right away.

Understanding Stalking

As a term, “stalking” may be challenging to define. When one individual becomes captivated or obsessed with another person, this is known as stalking. Stalking typically manifests itself through conduct that invades someone’s personal space, limits their independence and freedom, and causes them to feel frightened and threatened. It is the act of repeatedly and intentionally contacting, following or harassing another person without their consent, causing distress or fear for their safety.

88% of the 1008 respondents (including both men and women) in a poll conducted by Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organisation reported that they had experienced at least one act related to stalking. Nearly 45% of victims did not file a police report because they felt the authorities would not or could not assist them.

Some behaviours that can be interpreted as stalking include the following:

  • Sending unwanted gifts to a person’s home or workplace in an attempt to obtain attention or exert control.
  • Engaging in intrusive or malicious communication (phone calls, emails, text messages) despite the victim’s desire to sever ties with the stalker.
  • Cyberstalking: the practice of harassing, intimidating, or threatening a person through the use of digital tools, such as social media or other platforms.
  • Threats of intimidation: stalkers may make direct or indirect threats of injury to the victim, their loved ones, or their property.
  • Keeping close tabs on the victim’s online activity, sharing private information about them, or trying to get them exposed by “doxxing.
  • Keeping an eye on someone by using a listening device, GPS, or following them.

Impact of Stalking on the Victims

The effects of stalking extend far beyond those of sheer discomfort or annoyance for the victims. Victims of stalking often experience severe and long-lasting mental and physical distress due to the experience.

  1. Emotional distress: The victims of stalking experience constant anxiety and emotional distress. A person’s anxiety, paranoia, and loss of peace of mind may be exacerbated by the knowledge that they are persistently being followed and watched by someone. All of these things can have a devastating effect on the victim’s mental health.
  2. Disruption of daily life: One’s entire daily routine can be disrupted as a result of being stalked. Constantly looking over their shoulder and avoiding public locations out of fear can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. In addition, victims may find it difficult to concentrate on their work or studies, ultimately affecting their career or academic performance.
  3. Relationship strain: People who are being stalked may also have trouble with their current or future relationships because of the emotional turmoil they are going through. This emotional turmoil may or may not be projected onto their family, friends, and love partners. Their friends and family may find it hard to understand how upset the victim is and struggle to give them the support, reassurance, and protection the victims need.
  4. Financial consequences: As a result of being stalked, victims often have to spend their own money on measures such as installing surveillance cameras at home, finding a new place to live or work, changing to a new phone number, and engaging a lawyer to help them deal with the stalker. These things can add unnecessary costs and stress to the victim’s finances.

Existing Legal Framework in Malaysia

Before the amendment, no legislation specifically addressed harassment. However, the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) does provide victims of harassment with the same indirect form of protection, as Section 2 of the DVA broadly defines domestic violence to include placing or attempting to place a victim in fear of physical injury. This conduct also comprises a form of stalking for which a victim of domestic violence may seek a protection order against the perpetrators in the context of DVA. However, the existing law is lacking in numerous ways.

The DVA law is inadequate because it fails to include repeated and continuous following and contact, the most fundamental form of stalking. In addition, DVA only protects spouses, ex-spouses, or family members. It does not cover harassment and intimidation committed other than by these three persons. The law regarding stalking must not overlook the fact that victims may also be harassed by their boyfriend or girlfriend and by strangers.

Section 507A of the Penal Code

After two years of heated debate in the Malaysian Parliament, the government has amended the Penal Code to protect stalking victims. On May 31st, 2023, the new law went into effect, providing victims of stalking with a legal avenue to seek protection against their stalkers.

Section 507A (1) states that:

 Whoever, repeatedly by any act of harassment intending to cause or knowing or ought to know that the show is likely to cause distress, fear, or alarm to any person of the person’s safety commits an offence of stalking.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the act of harassment may include the following:

  1. Following a person in any manner or by any means
  2. Communicating or attempting to communicate with a person in any manner or means.
  3. Loitering at the place of residence or business of a person
  4. Giving or sending anything to a person in any manner or by any means

(3) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with a fine with both.

(4) In this section, “repeatedly” shall refer to at least two occasions

According to Section 507A, in order to establish that an individual has committed the crime of stalking, it must be shown that the offending behaviour has been repeated at least twice, that the victim has been disturbed by it, and that they are in a condition of stress or fear as a result. If the investigation uncovers evidence that the stalker was acting under the direction of someone else, that person may also face charges under Section 34 of the Penal Code, which provides as follows:

“When a criminal act is done by several persons, in furtherance of the common intention of all, each person is liable for the act in some manner as if the act were done by him alone.”

Briefly, here are the most critical parts of the recently enacted Section 507A:

  • Stalking is now a crime, whether done physically or online.
  • Stalking is committed through repeated acts of harassment.
  • Upon conviction, the stalker will be subject to a maximum penalty of 3 years of imprisonment, a fine, or both.

When a victim files a police report, they may petition the court for a protection order prohibiting the person under investigation for stalking from harassing the victim directly or indirectly. This is important to protect the survivor from more harassment or retaliation while the police investigate the case. According to the new laws, if the perpetrator violates the protection order, they can be arrested because violating the protection order itself is a seizable offence.


For a long time, being stalked was a “soul-destroying” experience for the victims. This was made worse by the fact that there were no laws to criminalise stalking or punish the person committing it. Unless the stalker was caught in the act, it was difficult for the police to show that someone was being stalked. With this new law, people who have been stalked might finally find relief. The amendment is also the result of years of work by activists, lawmakers, and survivors who were brave enough to tell their stories. Recognising the gravity of stalking and its impact and implementing forward-thinking methods to solve it will help us establish a safe society and nation where stalking is not tolerated and where victims are safeguarded from further harm.

This content was written and reviewed by a lawyer but it does not constitute legal advice. We always recommend engaging a lawyer before taking any legal action.