Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Malaysia

    October 03, 2018

    Responding to the arrest of Hassan al-Kontar by Malaysian police, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “Hassan al-Kontar’s arrest is the latest misstep in a series of mishandlings of his case. It would be abhorrent to see him deported to Syria, given the critical situation there and the clear risks to his own safety. Malaysian authorities should respect the international principle of non-refoulement and find a humane solution to his ordeal.

    “The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malaysia should have access to him, which they have requested. They have recognized him as a ‘person of interest’ and he is entitled to international protection.”

    Background

    Hassan al-Kontar is a 37 year old Syrian national who was arrested and placed on remand by Malaysian police on 2 October 2018. With no option for onward travel, he has been in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) since March 2018. He does not wish to return to Syria, where he has refused to enlist in compulsory military service.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the news that a sentence of six strokes of caning has been carried out in a courtroom against two women in Terengganu state – reportedly witnessed by family members and government officials – after they were convicted of attempting to have consensual same-sex sexual relations with each other, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “This is a terrible day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia. To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback in the government’s efforts to improve its human rights record.

    “The caning of the two women is a dreadful reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalization that LGBTI people face in the country. It’s a sign that the new government condones the use of measures that amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, much like its predecessor.

    August 15, 2018

    Responding to yesterday’s sentencing of two women to six strokes of caning and a fine of RM 3,300 after they were convicted of attempting to have sexual relations in Terengganu state, Gwen Lee, Amnesty International Malaysia’s Interim Executive Director said:

    “This deeply cruel sentence marks yet another severe setback in Malaysia’s treatment of LGBTI people, which is increasingly troubling.

    “Across the country, LGBTI people are facing a climate of growing discrimination and persecution. Rulings such as this only affirm that Malaysia is becoming a more hostile place for its LGBTI population.

    “Caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment amounting to torture and is prohibited under international law. As well as immediately overturning this brutal sentence, the Malaysian authorities must repeal the laws that impose these torturous punishments and ratify the UN Convention against Torture.”

    Background

    August 01, 2018

    We are thrilled to share this good news with all our supporters! The Malaysian authorities have acquitted and dropped all sedition charges against political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar "Zunar" Ulhaque and others. Zunar was facing prosecution for his peaceful political activities.

    Zunar was charged with nine sedition charges on 3 April 2015 for allegedly insulting the judiciary in tweets relating to then opposition leader and former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, Anwar Ibrahim, after he was jailed on sodomy charges

    Thank you to all of those who sent messages of solidarity for Zunar as part of Write for Rights 2015.

    July 30, 2018

    Responding to news that the Malaysian authorities have acquitted and dropped all sedition charges against political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar “Zunar” Ulhaque, lawmaker R. Sivarasa and civil rights lawyer N. Surendran, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “Zunar, Sivarasa and Surendran have shown great courage in shining a spotlight on injustices such as corruption and abuse of power. Their acquittal is a positive development but the Malaysian authorities must do more to protect people who dare to speak out.

    “The new government must take this opportunity to usher in a new era for human rights by fully restoring freedom of expression and abolishing the 1948 Sedition Act, an archaic piece of legislation which has been repeatedly used to target dissenting voices. The authorities must also drop any other charges under the Act and, pending its repeal, ensure that no one else is arrested, investigated, charged or imprisoned under its draconian provisions.”

    Background

    July 11, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned by recent backlash against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Malaysia by several politicians, including the Minister of Religious Affairs, as well as threats against a prominent LGBTI activist. Amnesty International calls on the new government to condemn recent attacks against LGBTI people in Malaysia, adopt policies to protect LGBTI people from discrimination and ensure full enjoyment of their rights.

    Last week, Minister for Religious Affairs Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said that even though he has pledged to listen to the views of LGBTI people in the country, this should not be construed as overt support for LGBTI people.

    A member of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), a conservative opposition party, then said that LGBTI people “infringe on society’s rights and the norms of humanity”, while the Deputy Head of Government in Kelantan State stated that “gays and lesbians” are “bigger issues” for the country, compared to a recent case of child marriage that was widely condemned both domestically and abroad.

    July 03, 2018

    Amnesty International Malaysia welcomes the 2 July announcement by Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Home Affairs, that the government of Malaysia has put the implementation of the death sentences of 17 prisoners on hold, pending the review of the country’s death penalty laws.

    The announcement comes only days after Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Deputy Prime Minister, confirmed the government’s commitment to consider abolishing the mandatory death penalty for all crimes.

    “We have long waited for the suspension of executions in Malaysia and yesterday’s announcement of a reprieve for 17 people fills us with hope for a new chapter in the protection and promotion of human rights in the country. This first step must promptly be followed by the total abolition of the death penalty for all crimes,” said Gwen Lee, Interim Executive Director at Amnesty International Malaysia.

    According to figures revealed by the deputy director of the Prisons Department, 1,267 people are under sentence of death in Malaysia, including 442 who have had their legal appeals finalized.

    May 16, 2018

    The release of long-time Malaysian opposition leader and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Anwar Ibrahim is a landmark moment for human rights in the country, the organization said today. 

    Anwar, who has twice been imprisoned on politically motivated “sodomy” and corruption charges, received a royal pardon following last week’s election win for the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad. Amnesty International has campaigned on Anwar’s case for 20 years. 

    “Anwar should never have been jailed in the first place, and his long overdue release is an important step towards the restoration of justice and human rights in Malaysia after so many years of political persecution by previous governments,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

    May 16, 2018

    Finally! After 20 years of imprisonment Amnesty International’s prisoner of conscience and Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been released. Anwar received a royal pardon following last week’s election win for the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad.

    Anwar’s freedom marks a victory for humanity in Malaysia. “This day should go down as a landmark moment for human rights in the country, but the new government must not stop here. Rather, this should be the first of many more positive changes,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    April 03, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the Malaysian lawmakers approved the “fake news” bill on Monday, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Malaysian lawmakers didn’t wait long to pass a vaguely worded, catch-all bill that can be – and will be – used to crack down on peaceful government critics. This bill cynically uses new Twitter jargon to pursue an old policy: criminalising free speech.”

    “The law which could be implemented within days doesn’t only impose tough penalties and gives arbitrary arrest powers for police but also allows charges to be brought against other countries’ citizens. It’s an overt assault on freedom of expression.”

    Background

    On Monday, the Lower House of the Malaysian parliament has approved a bill criminalizing “fake news”, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail or both. The bill will be debated in the Senate as early as by Thursday this week. Once passed by both houses, the law may come into force within days.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    July 20, 2017

    The Malaysian authorities must immediately release a distinguished Bangladeshi human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience and allow him to speak at and participate in a conference on the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    The Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur airport detained Adilur Rahman Khan, the Secretary of Odhikar, a leading Bangladeshi human rights organization, this morning as he arrived in the country to speak at a conference on the death penalty.

    “The Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Adilur Rahman Khan and allow him to participate in and speak at the conference,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “There is no justification for detaining him whatsoever. It is an outrage that a human rights activist cannot even travel freely to speak on a key human rights issue. Moreover, we understand that he still has not been given access to legal advice and is at risk of being deported.”

    May 12, 2017

    Responding to the extradition of three Turkish men suspected of links to Turkey’s Gülen movement, who had been arbitrarily detained under SOSMA, Malaysia’s draconian security law, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:

    “By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk. They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

    Background

    Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). The Malaysian authorities said they were being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.

    February 10, 2017

    On the second anniversary of the politically-motivated conviction of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Amnesty International calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

    “The ongoing political persecution of Anwar Ibrahim is symbolic of Malaysia’s crackdown on human rights. He has unjustifiably spent the past two years behind bars on trumped-up charges intended to silence him and end his political career,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    At the last elections, the ruling coalition lost the popular vote but managed to cling on to power. Anwar Ibrahim’s five-year imprisonment makes it impossible for him to contest the next general elections, due to take place by 2018.

    Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction was a major blow to human rights as the Malaysian government escalated its attacks on civil society.

    December 14, 2016

    After Malaysia’s Federal Court today ruled on former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against his recent “sodomy” conviction and five-year sentence, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said:

    “The decision to continue the incarceration of Anwar Ibrahim is a final blow to his bid for freedom and raises concerns about the Malaysian judiciary’s independence from political interference.

    “The politically motivated persecution of Anwar Ibrahim, who was convicted on trumped up charges of ‘sodomy’ after an unfair trial, is part of a wider crackdown by the Malaysian government to brazenly silence government critics and dissidents at all costs.

    “Anwar Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be immediately and unconditionally released.”

    Pages

    Subscribe to Malaysia
    rights