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Surge in Police Harassment of Journalists, Activists, Protesters

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities are increasingly using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders, and various other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Many are facing potential prosecution and have…
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With GE15 on the horizon, there is a grave risk that arrests will continue to rise. Respect for freedom of speech in Malaysia is in free fall - a decline illustrated by two recent arrests. On the evening of Friday, April 23, seven police…
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attending parliament session at parliament lower house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 13, 2020.
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New Law Criminalizes Expression, Violates Privacy Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2)…
A television shows a live broadcast of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a shopping outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. 
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Decision Holding Portals Liable Poses Serious Risk to Freedom of Speech

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian Federal Court decision holding an online news site responsible for reader comments contravenes international human rights standards and will chill free speech in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. The court on…
Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media at the Federal Court in in Putrajaya, Malaysia on February 19, 2021. 
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Immunity, Police Powers for Military Raise Risk of Abuse

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s recently announced Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance is overly broad and should urgently be revised to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The ordinance, announced on January 14,…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
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Prime Minister Suga Should Use Favorable Position to Advocate Reforms

(Tokyo) – Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, should press the governments of Vietnam and Indonesia to improve their deteriorating human rights records during his visit to the two countries, Human Rights Watch said today. Suga will visit…
Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
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Kate Walton wanted to cook klepon and she tweeted it – showing a bag of flour, pandan, coconut etc.– and Indonesians on social media were buzzing!  A white Australian woman in Canberra could make klepon, the pandan-flavored rice balls filled…
American environmentalist Phil Jacobson was deported from Indonesia to the United States in January 2020 after 45 days under city arrest in Central Kalimantan for an alleged visa infraction.
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Arrest of Bangladeshi in Documentary Violates Free Speech Rights

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities’ arrest of a Bangladeshi migrant worker who was featured in an Al Jazeera documentary is clear retaliation for his criticism of government policies towards migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities…
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Abusive Investigations for Critical Speech on the Rise

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities are increasingly responding to criticism of the government by initiating criminal investigations, Human Rights Watch said today. Journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary people have all recently faced…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
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Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
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Keep Pledge to Repeal Abusive Laws

(New York) – The Malaysian government should reinstate its moratorium on using the Sedition Act pending the law’s repeal, Human Rights Watch said today. Previous Malaysian governments have used the broadly-worded law, which goes well beyond…
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listens to questions during an interview with foreign media on one years anniversary of government in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.
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Keep Election Promise to Abolish National Security Council Act

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather than repeal an abusive national security law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on April 9, 2019, put before Parliament a bill to amend…
Section from Malaysia ruling party’s election manifesto, “Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation, Fulfilling Our Hopes,” promising to repeal abusive laws including the National Security Act of 2016.
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Officials Shut Down Student News Website Over Story ‘Promoting Homosexuality’

A student news website in Indonesia that published a story about a woman expressing her love for another young woman was ordered by university officials to shut down its entire news operation after the story went viral. North Sumatra University (…
The newsroom of student website Suara USU at the North Sumatra University in Medan, which is facing closure. University President Runtung Sitepu ordered the newsroom to be shut down and the office to be vacated in 48 hours on March 27, 2019 after the webs
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New Government Steps Back from Reform Agenda

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should reconsider its decision to lift the moratorium on laws previously used to repress dissent, Human Rights Watch said today. The government announced on November 30, 2018, that the cabinet had lifted its…
Riot police members stand guard at the Seafield temple on November 27, 2018 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The priest says there are criminal elements involved in the attack on the temple yesterday. Temple chief priest Jeyakumar Subramaniam said he s
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Authorities Equate Journalism with Doing “Something Wrong to Indonesia”

“Why am I now on the Indonesian government blacklist? For how long? For what reason? For going to Papua? This is devastating for me.” That was the reaction of Australian graduate student Belinda Lopez on August 4 when…
Indonesia's President-elect Joko Widodo (C) speaks with journalists at city hall in Jakarta, August 12, 2014.
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Broadly Worded Bill Threatens Free Expression

(New York) – The government of Malaysia’s proposed law criminalizing “fake news” is a frontal attack on free expression and should be withdrawn, Human Rights Watch said today. A clear target of the legislation is discussion in…
Commuters sit in front of an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018.
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Authorities Restrict Independent Journalism in Papua

Last week, Indonesian authorities arrested a BBC correspondent for tweets she made while reporting from Papua. The journalist, Rebecca Henschke, was questioned for a total of 17 hours by immigration and military officials before being…
Indonesian soldiers along with a local resident unload food and medical aid in Ewer, Asmat District, in the remote region of Papua, Indonesia January 29, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.
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Vulnerable Communities Face Worsening Risk

(Jakarta) – Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government is failing to confront increasing intolerance that has led to discrimination and violence against the country’s most vulnerable minorities, Human Rights Watch said today in…
201801wr_indonesia_human_rights Two homosexual men were sentenced to 82 whips by the Shariah Court in Banda Aceh, Indonesia on May 23, 2017. They violated Islamic law in Qanun number 6, year 2014 Article 63, paragraph 1 regarding the Law of Liwath. Aceh i
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Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.
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Maladministration in Nigerian’s July 2016 Execution

The official Ombudsman of Indonesia has accused both the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court of “maladministration” in denying a Nigerian citizen, executed for drug trafficking in July 2016, his legal rights. …
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