Crime in Malaysia

Crime in Malaysia manifests in various forms, including murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, corruption, black marketeering, and many others.[1]

Human trafficking

Malaysia is a destination, supply and transit point for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.[2] Women and girls from Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are trafficked to Malaysia.[2] Malaysia is a transit country along with Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand in Chinese human trafficking.[3] Women from Malaysia are trafficked into the People's Republic of China.[3] Migrants from countries in the region work as domestic servants and laborers in the construction and agricultural sectors and face exploitative conditions.[2]

Between 2005 and September 2009, more than 36,858 women were arrested for prostitution in Malaysia.[4]

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is a problem, heroin being the primarily used drug.[2] Drug trafficking is punishable by the death penalty,[5] a measure which was introduced during the 1980s to combat drug offenses, and was highlighted following the 1986 execution of Kevin John Barlow and Brian Geoffrey Chambers.

Crime against tourists

Violent crime against foreign tourists is less frequent in Malaysia;[6] however, pickpocketing and burglaries are common criminal activities directed against foreigners.[6] Other types of non-violent crime include credit card fraud and motor vehicle theft;[6] there is a high rate of credit card fraud.[6][7] Scams are a problem in Kuala Lumpur which involve card games and purchase of gold jewellery.[5]


Corruption is a problem, but less common than in many other countries in Southeast Asia.[8] In the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International[9] Malaysia had a corruption score of 52 out of 100 (high scores are less corrupt); this makes Malaysia the 2nd "cleanest" country in SE Asia, 9th out of 28 in APAC and 50th of the 175 countries assessed worldwide.

In the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, Malaysia had a corruption score of 50 out of 100; Malaysia was ranked 54th worldwide and 2nd in SE Asia, with Singapore (1st in SE Asia, 8th worldwide), Thailand (3rd in SE Asia, 76th worldwide), Indonesia (4th in SE Asia, 88th worldwide), Philippines (5th in SE Asia,95th worldwide), and Vietnam (5th in SE Asia, 112th worldwide)[10]

Transparency International list Malaysia's key corruption challenges as:

  1. Political and Campaign Financing: Donations from both corporations and individuals to political parties and candidates are not limited in Malaysia. Political parties are also not legally required to report on what funds are spent during election campaigns. Due in part to this political landscape, Malaysia’s ruling party for over 55 years has funds highly disproportionate to other parties. This unfairly impacts campaigns in federal and state elections and can disrupt the overall functioning of a democratic political system.
  2. “Revolving door”: Individuals regularly switch back and forth between working for both the private and public sectors in Malaysia. Such circumstances – known as the ‘revolving door’ – allow for active government participation in the economy and public-private relations to become elusive. The risk of corruption is high and regulating public-private interactions becomes difficult, also allowing for corruption to take place with impunity. Another factor which highlights the extent of ambiguity between the public sector and private corporate ownership is that Malaysia is also a rare example of a country where political parties are not restricted in possessing corporate enterprises.
  3. Access to information: As of April 2013, no federal Freedom of Information Act exists in Malaysia. Although, Selangor and Penang are the only Malaysian states out of thirteen to pass freedom of information legislation, the legislation still suffers from limitations. Should a federal freedom of information act be drafted it would conflict with the Official Secrets Act – in which any document can be officially classified as secret, making it exempt from public access and free from judicial review. Additional laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act 1949 (subsequently replaced with the National Harmony Act), and the Internal Security Act 1969 also ban the dissemination of official information and offenders can face fines or imprisonment.TI).[8] Malaysia suffers from corporate fraud in the form of intellectual property theft.[11] Counterfeit production of several goods including IT products, automobile parts, etc., are prevalent.[11]

In 2013, Malaysia has was identified in a survey by Ernst and Young as one of the most corrupt countries in the region according to the perceptions of foreign business leaders, along with neighboring countries and China. The survey asked whether it was likely that each country would take shortcuts to achieve economic targets.[12]

See also


  2. 1 2 3 4 "CIA World Factbook - Malaysia". CIA World Factbook.
  3. 1 2 Kimberley L. Thachuk (2007). Transnational Threats. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 134. ISBN 0-275-99404-X.
  4. "36,858 women believed to be prostitutes detained since 2005 - Police".
  5. 1 2 Simon Richmond (2007). Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. Lonely Planet. p. 488. ISBN 1-74059-708-7.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Consular Information Sheet: Malaysia". Bureau of Consular Affairs
  7. Aneace Haddad (2005). A New Way to Pay: Creating Competitive Advantage through the EMV Smart Card Standard. Gower Publishing Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 0-566-08688-3.
  8. 1 2 Darryl S. L. Jarvis (2003). International Business Risk: A Handbook for the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge University Press. p. 219. ISBN 0-521-82194-0.
  9. Asia Pacific Corruption Perceptions Index
  10. "Transparency International - Corruption Perceptions Index 2015 "
  11. 1 2 Darryl S. L. Jarvis (2003). International Business Risk: A Handbook for the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-521-82194-0.

External links

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