The Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia is reminding the public to not shame others based on their outward appearances
"Body shaming is a cyberbullying crime. The victim can report an offence to the police or to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)," MOH said in its Facebook post yesterday, 16 October.
This is the latest announcement among MOH's recent efforts to raise mental health awareness.
"Body shaming can be detrimental to the mental health of another," read the poster that accompanied the Facebook post
Body shaming may cause the victim to experience:
- Stress and emotional disturbances,
- Loss of confidence,
- Eating disorders,
- Depression, and
"Always be perceptive to the sensitivities of the people in your surroundings," advised the ministry.
"Stop body shaming."
Offenders can be fined RM50,000 or can be jailed for a year, or both
"Anyone guilty of body shaming or committing any action that offends the physical features of another person on any application service can be charged," the Facebook post read.
According to Section 233 (1) (b) Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588), if found guilty, the offender can be fined no more than RM50,000 or imprisonment for no more than a year, or both.
Netizens on Facebook and Twitter showed support and thanked the MOH for their effort, while a few had questions
A Twitter user asked, "What if the body shaming was happening face-to-face, such as making bad jokes about one's body or physical shortcomings?"
According to her, direct confrontations and public humiliation was more rampant and may have a worse impact on the victim.
"A victim may take action based on another act. Act 588 is exclusive to offences made on any online platform," clarified the MOH.
While this Twitter user wanted to know if telling someone they had bad breath or body odour was considered body shaming.
"This includes teasing about speech impediments! Including lisps and stuttering. Please do not take this lightly," said another user.