The criminalisation of individual conduct occurs mainly due to the current need of society and reflects existing norms and standards. Behaviour is often criminalised based on its harmfulness and wrongfulness based on society’s normative values and social experiences. The criminalisation may also be generated by global events and demands, which impel governments to legislate new laws. In the domain of counterterrorism, the 9/11 attacks amplified the call for states worldwide to criminalise terrorism-related acts. The implications can be seen from a significant number of resolutions issued or endorsed by the United Nations and other international organisations. As a response to the global appeal, the criminalisation process in Malaysia was formalised through the introduction of new laws and a series of amendments made to the existing legislation, which incorporated terrorism-related offences into the Penal Code. One of the offences is the possession of items associated with terrorist acts or terrorist organisations, which was frequently utilised by the authorities as a preventive tool against terrorism. Due to the peculiar nature of the offence, as compared to ordinary crimes, the overcriminalisation concern arises. Accordingly, this paper discusses the criminalisation of the precursor offence and examines its traits that substantiate the overcriminalisation claim.
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