Privacy Law in Malaysia

I wrote this for my department’s monthly legal update and I thought it would be useful to share this with readers here. It is a very interesting case.

Lew Cher Phow @ Lew Cha Paw & Ors v Pua Yong Yong & Anor
(Johor Bahru High Court Suit No. MT4-22-510-2007)

In this case, the Plaintiffs and the Defendants were neighbours. The High Court had dismissed an application by the Plaintiffs who applied for an order for interlocutory injunction to restrain the Defendants from installing any CCTV cameras at the Defendants’ house which faced the Plaintiffs’ house as well as also for an order to compel the Defendants to remove their CCTV cameras that were installed facing the Plaintiffs’ house.

The Plaintiffs alleged that the act of the Defendants installing the CCTV cameras had intruded their livelihood and daily activities. The Defendants on the other hand alleged that the CCTV cameras were for security reasons as their house had been intruded before and also that the CCTV cameras only showed the Plaintiffs’ house as background.

The grounds given by the High Court in dismissing the Plaintiffs’ application are, among others, as follows:

(a) there is no evidence to show that the CCTV cameras intruded the livelihood and daily activities of the Plaintiffs. Further, there is no evidence in the Plaintiffs’ affidavit to show that the CCTV cameras recorded the Plaintiffs’ activities.

(b) the Defendants are entitled to install CCTV cameras for security and safety purposes.

(c) if the interlocutory injunction is granted this will bring a legal implication to the general public especially when CCTV cameras are installed at residential and commercial premises to protect the safety of the general public.

(d) there is no right of privacy in Malaysia thus the Plaintiffs do not have the right to institute an action against invasion of privacy rights.

Yup folks, currently there is no right to privacy in Malaysia. However, there are certain laws to protect you from being harassed by others. For example, if someone enters your house to install a camera to spy on you, you can get him jailed for trespass. This is exactly what happened in Nasha Aziz’s case, who is Malaysian celebrity.

Well, I will write more about this issue when the Personal Data Protection Bill 2009is tabled in the Parliament. Stay tuned!

5 thoughts on “Privacy Law in Malaysia”

  1. I think is fair enough, if you install CCTV in your own house for security purposes so what if it shows the opposite/adjourning houses as background..not like you are filming them on purpose.

    1. yup true! i wonder what triggered the plaintiffs to file the suit. maybe due to some facts not stated in the written judgement.

      1. The plaintiff has a point. If the CCTV really does capture your house compound, are you really comfortable with your neighbour having video recordings of everything that you are doing? Background or not, if everytime I walk in and out of the house, someone has a video recording of it, I will feel very uncomfortable. I’m sure the defendant can adjust his camera such that it does not capture the plaintiff’s house.

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