BFM Radio

BFM Podcast: CYBERSTALKING

I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about stalking and harassment laws in Malaysia in general on 10 January 2017.


Japan just recently introduced laws to ban cyberstalking after a musical artist there was stabbed by a fan. Malaysia, while having laws that deal with harassment, has yet to introduce laws on stalking. We hear from blogger Cindy on her experience with being stalked and lawyer Foong Cheng Leong on what laws we presently have to deal with it

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BFM Podcast: LANDMARK #3: INSULTS

I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about online insults and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 on 18 July 2016.


Last month, a 76-year-old man was arrested by the police for allegedly posting an insulting picture in a Whatsapp group chat. The man, identified as Pa Ya in media reports, was arrested in Petaling Jaya, where he lives, and taken into custody for investigation, under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, in Johor. On this month’s episode of Landmark, a series examining how the law shapes society as vice versa, lawyer Foong Cheng Leong explains what constitutes an insult and when it is considered an offense.

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BFM Podcast: WEB OF EXPLOITATION

I was interviewed BFM Radio on the issue of sexual grooming and sex offenders registry and the podcast was published on 8 June 2016.


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The rise of pedophilia and other sex offences recently have put in the spotlight predatory behaviour both on and offline. Today we look at how the lack of proper regulation is one source of the challenge. We also explore ways to combat online sexual predators.

This report is by Wan Irdina.

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BFM Podcast: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR SEX TAPE IS PUBLISHED?

I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about invasion of privacy in Malaysia and the podcast was published on 27 April 2016.



On March 21th, a six-person jury awarded Hulk Hogan, the stage name of retired professional wrestler Terry Bollea, $140 million in civil damages for a sex tape that gossip website Gawker published in 2012. In doing so, the jury believed that Hulk Hogan’s privacy was violated as the tape was made and distributed without his permission. How far can public interest encroach into privacy rights? Lawyer Foong Cheng Leong explains how such a case would play out in a Malaysian court.

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My Neighbour Is Spying On Me!

In the recent LoyarBurok “Msia I Can Series: The Right To Your Privacy” on BFM Radio, which I have been reliably informed is one of the top hit links on BFM, I told a story about neighbours fighting over CCTVs which faced a neighbour’s house.

In the case of Lew Cher Phow @ Lew Cha Paw & 11 Ors v Pua Yong Yong & Anor, the occupants of a house at Skudai, Johor initiated an action against their neighbour for invasion of privacy sometime in 2007.

In this case, the Defendants had installed CCTVs around their house and one of the CCTVs captured part of the Plaintiffs’ house, notwithstanding that the CCTV also captured the front yard of the Defendants’ house. The Plaintiffs complained that they were being spied on and therefore their right to privacy had been infringed. The Defendants claimed that the CCTVs were for safety reasons.

The Plaintiffs filed an interim injunction against their neighbour requesting that the CCTVs be taken down. However, the application was dismissed by the High Court on the grounds that, among others, the tort of invasion of privacy is not recognised in Malaysia (see Lew Cher Phow @ Lew Cha Paw & 11 Ors v Pua Yong Yong & Anor [2009] 1 LNS 1256).


A different kind of use of CCTV.

The case went to trial and recently the High Court allowed the CCTV to be taken down.

Justice Vernon Ong, like the judges in Maslinda Ishak v. Mohd Tahir Osman & Ors [2009] 6 CLJ 653 (impliedly recognised the tort); Lee Ewe Poh v Dr. Lim Teik Man & Anor [2010] 1 LNS 1162; and Sherrina Nur Elena bt Abdullah v Kent Well Edar Sdn Bhd (Sabah High Court Suit No. K22-187-2009-I (Unreported)), recognised the right to privacy and the tort of invasion of privacy in Malaysia.

According to the learned Judge, the test to determine whether there is an invasion of privacy of rights is:

Arising from this case are two competing values: safety and privacy. Does the defendants’ fear for their safety and security override the right to privacy of the plaintiffs? Does the CCTV surveillance constitute an intrusion or interference with plaintiffs’ right to respect for their private and family life and their home? Is the CCTV surveillance an unreasonable intrusion upon the privacy of the plaintiffs?

Ultimately this is a question of balance between the rights of the owner of the CCTV camera (the defendants) and the CCTV camera’s target (the plaintiffs).

The learned Judge held that the balance lies on the Plaintiffs. The right to privacy is a fundamental human right. On the peculiar facts of this case, the right to privacy consists of the plaintiffs’ right to private and family life and home. This is a basic right and need which everyone cherishes and holds dear. The well known saying that a man’s home is his castle holds true.

The recognition of privacy rights and invasion of the same have a tremendous impact to Malaysians. This would include the following:

  1. Employees’ right to privacy. Employers would now have to take into account of the same. Each task which affects employees’ privacy will need to be subject to a privacy impact assessment.
  2. Public authorities’ investigation powers. They now would need to take into account of an individuals’ rights. They cannot force suspects or witnesses (like Teoh Beng Hock‘s case) to reveal their personal email and computer.
  3. Celebrities’ right to privacy.
  4. Media’s right to express themselves. Media will now have to take into account of any individuals’ privacy right when reporting stories. Most litigations involving privacy rights in United Kingdom are fought by the media.
  5. The advent of Superinjunctions? Superinjunction, also known as a gagging order, refers to an order that prevents any parties from reporting details of a court case including mentioning the fact that the injunction has been taken out. This injunction was taken by many UK celebrities. Footballers John Terry and Michael Owen are known to have taken a superinjunction over their alleged extramarital affairs.
  6. Bloggers’ rights. As a consequence to the effect on authorities, bloggers’ private information such as password to their personal email and computer data are protected by the right to privacy. Authorities must take measures to ensure that their investigation does not affect the bloggers’ privacy right. However, a blogger’s identity is not protected by right to privacy (see The Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd [2009] EWHC 1358 (QB) (16 June 2009))

The above list is non exhaustive. It is interesting to see how the right of privacy will develop further in Malaysia.

Download Written Judgement of Lew Cher Phow @ Lew Cha Paw & 11 Ors v Pua Yong Yong & Anor by Justice Vernon Ong.

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