Reading anxiety is a situational phobia with physical and cognitive reactions. This anxiety can be facilitative or debilitative and can result in negative impact on reading comprehension, reading competence, and reading strategies. Most previous studies on reading anxiety were carried out in traditional classrooms., but with the sudden transition to online and distance learning (ODL) due to COVID-19, the extent of reading anxiety in ODL among Malaysian university learners and its contributing factors are largely unknown. Therefore, this study was carried out to measure reading anxiety among university learners engaged in ODL as well as to find out its primary contributing factors. The objectives were achieved via a questionnaire administered on 96 learners at a Malaysian university. The participants were found to experience high degree of reading anxiety in ODL. The requirement of attending classes via ODL mode is the main cause for reading anxiety, while self-perceived English proficiency also influences reading anxiety significantly. Therefore, clear and constant instructor feedback is necessary as learners may easily divert from the purpose of ODL reading classes. The outcome of this study helps instructors in knowing the conditions of reading anxiety in ODL and may assist them in post pandemic physical classrooms.