Protection of privacy in Malaysia: A law for the future
In Malaysia, the rights and liberties of the individual are recognised in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. However, the right to privacy does not have the express constitutional recognition enjoyed by other rights such as the right to life and liberty and freedom of expression. This thesis identifies gaps in the protection of privacy interests in the current legal framework. There is no self-standing law on privacy in Malaysia, though there are several laws which provide limited rights to privacy such as the laws on data protection and criminal law. The existing laws are inadequate to protect private information and to protect against the intrusion of privacy. The importation of foreign principles through the reception of English Common Law offers only limited protection. Malaysia should, therefore, have a specific law to protect privacy. With a view to attaining that goal for Malaysia, this thesis undertakes a comparative analysis of two different experiences of the development of the law of privacy. They are the privacy law in England, which is largely based on the law of breach of confidence, and the privacy law in New Zealand, which has a distinct privacy tort recognised in its case law. The conclusion is that those countries’ experience can inform developments in Malaysia, and that the best way for Malaysia to develop its law now is by the enactment of a specific Privacy Act.