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Malaysian Laws That Protect You When An Ex Threatens To Leak Your Nudes

Malaysian Laws That Protect You When An Ex Threatens To Leak Your Nudes

You are not helpless. The law is on your side.

Tasneem Nazari

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A recent headline we’ve come across in the news is the devastating story of a girl who committed suicide after her boyfriend threatened to share private pictures of her on social media.

What makes the incident all the more tragic is the fact that after the police arrested the suspect, they also found private pictures of other women on his phone and it turns out that this guy has previous cases of extorting women for money or sex using their private photos.

The authorities are now investigating the case under Section 509 of the Malaysian Penal Code for intending to insult the modesty of a woman. We truly hope justice is served against the perpetrator whose actions have resulted in this girl’s death.

Now, reading this case might make you wonder: “Actually, what could I do if my partner/ex-partner ever blackmails me with racy photographs I sent them?”

Well, according to our friends at Ask Legal (tbh, we don’t know them. But, we’re big fans of their work), you have rights.

Oh no! My partner leaked my photos!

What can you do when your private photos have been shared on social media platforms? (Credit: Malay Mail)

If your photos have already been leaked. The first thing you can do is to lodge a report with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and ask them to block the photographs.

MCMC can block the photographs from being further accessed by the public.

After that, you can lodge a report with the police against your probably now ex-partner because disseminating lewd photos online is actually illegal under a couple of Malaysian laws.

Section 292 of the Malaysian Penal Code basically states that anyone who is found guilty for possessing or distributing any kind of pornographic material, this includes sharing lewd pictures of you online, can be jailed for up to three years, or fined, or both.

On top of that, distributing pornographic content (your lewd pics) can also be charged under Section 211(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which states in part:

No content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person…

Section 211(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998

A person found in violation of this Act can be fined up to RM50,000 or sentenced to a year of imprisonment, or both.

My ex hasn’t posted my pictures yet, but they are threatening to do so!

Some victims blackmailed for money in exchange for keeping their private pictures from being shared online.

Obviously, both law sections we mentioned above don’t help you if your pictures haven’t been leaked yet.

If they haven’t leaked your pics but are forcing you to pay them money or have sex with them, the law still has your back.

We know from the original case mentioned above that when a man even intends to spread lewd photos of a woman, he is already violating Section 509 of the Malaysian Penal Code which states that:

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any person, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such person, or intrudes upon the privacy of such person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine or with both.

Section 509 of the Malaysian Penal Code

If he is extorting you with money, or sex for the pictures, these actions fall under Section 383 of the Penal Code for extortion.

Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits extortion.

Section 383 of the Malaysian Penal Code for extortion

According to Section 384 of the same Code, anyone found guilty of extortion shall be punished with imprisonment up to ten years or fined or whipped or any two of the punishments mentioned.

But actually right, your ex-partner is not the only one committing a crime here.

It’s a crime to send people your pictures too.

Yes, it is totally wrong for people to betray your trust and either take revenge or extort you over pictures or other things you shared with them in confidence.

However, we thought it might be wise to warn you that in Malaysia, sharing thirst trap pictures of yourself is illegal, regardless if you sent it to someone through WhatsApp, or posted a racy picture on your private Instagram account. 

Ask Legal highlights that Section 292 of the Penal code states that both public and private exhibition of any obscene material can lead to a jail sentence of up to three years, a fine, or both.

On top of that, MCMC can also come after you with Section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which states in part that anyone who uses the internet to make or share…

…any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person…commits an offence

Section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998

Though, this should not deter you from seeking action against your harasser. Based on our research, we did not come across any instances of the police taking legal action against victims.

So, we guess at the end of the day the best advice we can give you is this: Don’t share sensitive photos of yourself online.

But if you decide to do so anyway, be smart about it and don’t include your face or identifiable features in the photo.


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