Robotic Sex in Malaysia

I read with a smile, a recent article on how a conference on Love and Sex with Robots that was scheduled to run in Iskandar Malaysia is now caught in a limbo. Our IGP has been quoted as saying that:

There are many laws that we can use. It is an offence to have anal sex in Malaysia, what more with robots.

I’m confused as to what kind of offence it is to have sex with robots? So, I checked out the Penal Code. Quite naturally, I first jumped to the parts which concern unnatural offences.

S.377 of the PC says that, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse with an animal shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years.”

Since a robot is not an animal, this section does not apply, obviously.

S.377A of the PC says that, “Any person who has sexual connection with another person by the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of the other person is said to commit carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

Since a robot is not another person, this section does not apply either.

S.377D of the PC says that, “Any person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission
by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

Since a robot is not another person, this section does not apply too.

So, I’m kind of concerned. Which laws does the IGP intend to slap on the organisers of the conference? While it is true that anal sex is unlawful in Malaysia, as we have learned from Sodomy 2.0, it is only unlawful when committed by another person, not a robot.

Therefore, I humbly submit that our IGP is speaking without authority. There is no law that bans sex with robots in Malaysia. I doubt that our out-dated and out-moded Penal Code was written with robots in mind.

So, dildos need not worry.

Updated: S.377B cannot be read alone because it merely spells out the punishment for carnal intercourse against the order of nature but the definition of what that is in S.377A, which requires another person.


Ocean's 11 (1960 film)
Ocean’s 11 (1960 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, we covered a number of similar topics in Criminal Law – the ways in which a crime can be extended to other people, kinda like Ocean’s 11.

Criminal Conspiracy
Criminal conspiracy is covered under S.120A of our PC. The essential elements here are that there must be more than one person involved – it’s not quite possible to have a conspiracy with only one person; and there has to be an act or first step taken in the conspiracy.

Therefore, conspiracy is not a result crime but a conduct crime. Nothing bad actually needs to happen but all that is required is that there are several people plotting together and that any one of them takes a first step towards advancing the plot.

The whole idea of this provision is to prevent the commission of a crime committed by a number of people.

Abetment is covered under S.107 of our PC. Unlike conspiracy, abetment is used on an individual that is linked to the crime. However, there are only four forms of abetment as specified under the section: one can instigate, command, engage or aid in the commission of the crime.

What is dangerous about this section is that the crime itself does not need to have been carried out. The abetment of another abetment is also a crime, which can invariable pull in anyone higher up along the chain. This section can be read quite widely as the cases show.

This section, can be confused with conspiracy particularly S.107(b) that makes one guilty of abetment in a conspiracy. The key point here is to remember that the abettor does not himself need to be part of the conspiracy e.g. the mastermind.

The whole idea of this provision is to capture anyone else who might have played a role, possibly indirectly unlike in a conspiracy where it’s only the members of the conspiracy who are caught.

Common Intention
Common intention is covered under S.34 of our PC. Unlike the previous two, this section is not a substantive section and can only be used alongside any other substantive section. The elements are that the criminal act is done by several persons to further a common intention.

The key here is that each person must have contributed to the criminal act, with a common intention. Again, the cases show a wide interpretation of this section. The persons involved do not even need to be physically present. Anyone who contributed to the crime is considered to have committed the said crime.

This can often be confused with S.107(c) of abetment – aid – as each person involved must have contributed to the crime. The key difference between the two is the common intention. Any person who aided a crime may have done so unwittingly or unknowingly, and will not be caught by this section.

The whole idea of this provision is to capture everyone involved in a group crime, e.g. gang crime, particularly when it may be difficult to determine whom actually pulled the trigger, whom was the lookout, whom was the getaway driver, etc.

Unlawful Assembly
Unlawful assembly is under S.149 of our PC. This provision is the widest ranging one of them all. While it is necessary to show that every member of the gang contributed in some way under S.34, it is totally unnecessary to do so under S.149.

All that is required is that there must be an unlawful assembly as defined under S.141 of our PC and those present have assembled for a common object (not intention). Then, someone in the group committed a crime then all those present are deemed to be guilty of the same offence.

This is often confused with S.34 but one is of a common intent while the other is a common object. The S.149 common object element is much wider as everyone may have different intentions while having the same object. However, another catch is that there must be at least five people physically present first.

While this provision seems terribly wide and dangerous, the whole idea is to rope everyone present at the scene into the crime. It does not mean that everyone is guilty of the crime though, unlike S.34.