How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch (Asia Division): Creating a Culture of Fear

The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia

Highlights of the Report:

'They are creating a culture of fear. If you engage in any talk of public interest, the police may come to your house, you may be arrested, taken to the police station, remanded. Even members of Parliament are treated that way.
—Yap Swee Seng, former executive director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Kuala Lumpur, April 14, 2015'

'Freedom of expression and assembly in Malaysia are currently under attack, aided by the existence of broad and vaguely worded laws that the government can wield to arrest, investigate, and imprison its critics. The recent increase in use of laws that criminalize peaceful expression is a step backward for a country that had seemed to be making progress on the protection of rights. This report examines how the Malaysian government is using and abusing such laws, and the ways in which the laws themselves fall short of international standards.'

'As long-time activist Hishamuddin Rais told Human Rights Watch:

When the ISA was abolished, there was a sense of freedom. I thought Malaysia was going in the right direction. When Najib promised to abolish the Sedition Act, I thought: “We have arrived. We are on the right path.”

That optimism has now evaporated. Faced with declining popularity and rising public discontent on a range of issues, the prime minister has responded by cracking down on critics and supporting new laws, such as the 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), that replicate many of the flaws in the laws that were repealed. In November 2014, Najib reneged on his promise to repeal the Sedition Act and announced that the law would instead "be strengthened and made more effective," with "a special clause to protect the sanctity of Islam, while other religions also cannot be insulted." In April 2015, the government pushed through amendments providing for harsher penalties and further restrictions on speech, particularly on social media.'

Overly Restrictive Laws as a Tool for Repression

Since the end of colonial rule in 1957, Malaysia has been ruled by coalitions dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). The current coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN) (National Front), has ruled since 1974. Throughout its more than 40 years in power, BN has used a wide range of overly broad and vaguely worded laws to harass and silence critics and political opponents. Some of these laws have been in place since Malaysia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, while many others have been more recently adopted or amended.

(Summary of some issues touched on):
Targeting the Political Opposition
Targeting Civil Society
Targeting the Media
Targeting Social Media Users
Restrictions on Freedom of Assembly
Abusive Police Tactics and Selective Prosecution

'Key Recommendations

Malaysia is an active member of the United Nations and, in October 2014, was reelected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council after a 15 year hiatus. The country has also served three terms on the UN Human Rights Council and has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Indeed, the official website of the Malaysian attorney-general states that Malaysia, “by virtue of being a member [of the UN], has subscribed to the philosophy, concepts and norms provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets out the minimum and common standard of human rights for all peoples and all nations.”[1]

The current repression of critical speech makes a mockery of those affirmations. If Malaysia wants to be taken seriously as a rights-respecting member of the United Nations, it must bring its laws and policies into line with international norms and standards, including by implementing the following recommendations: ...'


This report was researched and written between March 2014 and October 2015. It is based primarily on in-depth analysis of Malaysian laws used to restrict freedom of expression and assembly and on the interviews described below. It also draws on court judgments and news reports concerning criminal proceedings in relevant cases, and public statements by the government.

Human Rights Watch went to Kuala Lumpur in August 2014 and April 2015, where we interviewed 38 lawyers, opposition politicians, journalists, activists, members of civil society organizations, and academics, some of them multiple times. Further in-person interviews were conducted in London. Telephone interviews and email correspondences continued until the time of publication. Interviews were conducted in English; no incentives were offered or provided to interviewees.

On August 10, 2015, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to four members of the Malaysian government requesting their input. The letter, a copy of which is contained in Appendix 1, was sent by fax, email, and registered mail to Minister for Home Affairs Zahid Hamidi, Attorney General Haji Mohamed Apandi bin Haji Ali, Inspector General of Police Khalid bin Abu Bakar, and Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Dr. Halim Shafie. Unfortunately, none of those contacted responded.

The report is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all laws that criminalize free speech in Malaysia, but discusses the laws that have proven to be most prone to misuse and abuse.'

Rest of the detailed report:

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