• A government crackdown on civil and political rights, which began after the ruling coalition won the most seats in the 2013 parliamentary elections but lost the popular vote, continued into 2015. The authorities employed the Peaceful Assembly Act both to prevent any demonstration questioning the results and to punish the organizers. In addition, the Sedition Act was used to prosecute those criticizing the government, leaders of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s political party, and for remarks the government considers derogatory toward Malaysia’s sultans or is disrespectful of Islam. Najib’s repeated promise that the act would be repealed dissolved under pressure from party leaders. Instead he has promised to strengthen the law and seek a counter-terrorism measure. Open opposition to LGBT rights has increased as Sharia (Islamic) courts are more assertively prosecuting alleged LGBT activity.

  • Malaysian lawyers hold placards and shout slogans during a protest calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act in Kuala Lumpur on October 16, 2014.
    Prime Minister Najib Razak abandoned his pledge to revoke Malaysia’s repressive sedition law and oversaw a wave of arrests of opposition politicians and social activists, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.

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Malaysia

  • Jan 29, 2015
    Prime Minister Najib Razak abandoned his pledge to revoke Malaysia’s repressive sedition law and oversaw a wave of arrests of opposition politicians and social activists, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.
  • Nov 21, 2014
    When Abid was five, immigration officials arrested him and his family, Pakistani refugees fleeing religious persecution. The officials took them to the squalid immigration detention centre in central Bangkok. There, they joined hundreds of other refugees detained indefinitely, awaiting some distant possibility of release.
  • Nov 7, 2014

    A Malaysian appeals court ruling that a ban on cross-dressing was unconstitutional is an important victory for the rights of transgender people in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. 

  • Oct 23, 2014
    Malaysian authorities should end their politically motivated prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
  • Sep 24, 2014

    The Malaysian government should urgently seek the repeal of all laws and regulations that discriminate against transgender people, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. 

  • Sep 14, 2014
    The Malaysian government should cease using the country’s sedition law to arbitrarily arrest opposition lawmakers, activists, and critical academics.
  • Jun 26, 2014
  • Jun 22, 2014
    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.
  • Jun 8, 2014
    Malaysian authorities should drop politically motivated sedition charges against a senior opposition politician for a satirical video criticizing the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Teresa Kok, a member of parliament and national vice-chair of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), will attend a court hearing on June 9, 2014, on charges that could result in up to three years in prison or a fine that would disqualify her from serving in the national parliament.
  • May 28, 2014
    Malaysia’s prime minister should end efforts to sue a leading online newspaper for publishing critical reader comments.