What is Computer Crimes Act 1997?

The Act aims to provide for offenses relating to the misuse of computers.

Amongst other things, it deals with unauthorized access to computer material, unauthorized access with intent to commit other offenses and unauthorized modification of computer contents. It also makes provisions to facilitate investigations for the enforcement of the Act.

The Act criminalizes some acts and provides for punishment as follows:
Offenses Penalty
Unauthorized access to computer material Fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both
Unauthorized access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offense Fine not exceeding RM150,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.
Unauthorized modification of the contents of any computer (a) Find not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 7 years or both

(b) Find not exceeding RM150,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both if the act done is with intention of causing injury as defined in the Penal Code.
Wrongful Communication Fine not exceeding RM25,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both.
Abetments and attempts Fine to be as for the principal offense but imprisonment not to exceed one half of the maximum term for the principal offense.

Under the Act, there is a rebuttable presumption that a person who has in his custody or control, a program, data or other information held in a computer or retrieved from a computer and which he is not authorized to have in his custody or control, is deemed to have obtained unauthorized access to it.

If an offense is committed by any person outside Malaysia, he may be dealt with as if he had committed the offense within Malaysia, if for that offense the computer program or data was in Malaysia or capable of being connected, sent or used by or with a computer in Malaysia. Enforcement is in the hands of the police.

Successful prosecutions under the Computer Crimes Act are very low. Significant cases are:
  • On February 9, 2012, a system analyst with the Lembaga Tabung Haji's Information Technology Department was charged under Section 5(1) of the Computer Crimes Act 1997 for three counts of tampering with the contents of the pilgrims' database between June and July 2010. In May 2014, he was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to three year's jail and fined a total of RM60,000, in default of eight months' jail.

  • On September 8, 2008, an information technology officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Putrajaya was charged under Section 5(1) of the Computer Crimes Act 1997 for four counts of illegally transferring land titles in Perak. If found guilty, he is liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or to a jail term of not more than seven years, or both.

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Knowledge Base ID :   1360
Last Reviewed :   May 23, 2014
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