• Malaysia’s May 5, 2013 general election resulted in historic losses for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which retained control of parliament despite a significant popular vote loss. Deterioration in human rights and an abrupt end to Prime Minister Najib’s oft-touted reform agenda followed. Relevant developments included passage of new and revised laws permitting administrative detention without trial, arrests of opposition activists for organizing peaceful protests, and attempts to shut down human rights NGOs. The government relied on sedition charges to silence and punish those who questioned government policies, and tightened its control over television, radio, printed newspapers, magazines, books, films and video. During 2013, at least 12 persons died in suspicious circumstances in police custody, and discrimination against the LGBT community, reinforced by government policy, remained a persistent problem.


  • “Serafina,” like many transgender women in Malaysia, has been arrested and sexually assaulted by state religious department officials for wearing women’s clothing.
    An Islamic law court in Malaysia has sentenced 16 transgender women to seven days in prison and a fine for “cross dressing,” in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today.

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