The government tightened control of dissent and curtailed the right to freedom of expression and religion. Bloggers were arrested under the Sedition Act, and the Printing Press and Publications Act (PPPA) was used to control newspaper content. Ten people were arbitrarily arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Security forces continued to use excessive force while the establishment of an independent police complaints misconduct commission was postponed. Immigration personnel and volunteers conducted mass arrests of migrant workers. At least 22 people were sentenced to death. The number executed was unknown.
Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and men, women, and children for forced labor; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for men, women, and children who migrate willingly from South and Southeast Asia to work, some of whom are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by Malaysian employers in the domestic, agricultural, construction, plantation, and industrial sectors; to a lesser extent, some Malaysian women, primarily of Chinese ethnicity, are trafficked abroad for commercial sexual exploitation tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Malaysia improved from Tier 3 to the Tier 2 Watch List for 2008 when it enacted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in July 2007; however, it did not take action against exploitative employers or labor traffickers in 2007; the government has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008).
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy with a population of approximately 26.9 million. It has a parliamentary system of government headed by a prime minister selected through periodic, multiparty elections. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO), together with a coalition of political parties currently known as the National Front, has held power since independence in 1957. The most recent national elections, in March, were conducted in a generally transparent manner and witnessed significant opposition gains. The opposition complained of the ruling coalition's exploitation of the powers of incumbency and domination of the mainstream media. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.
Between October 24, 2013 and October 31, 2013 Malaysia undergoes a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all of the UN Member States. Malaysia underwent its first review in 2009. The UPR is an opportunity for member countries to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their country and to fulfill their human rights obligations. The UPR process is a recent creation of the UN General Assembly, when the Human Rights Council was established on March 15, 2006 by resolution 60/251. Amnesty International's concerns focus on Malaysia's inadequate implementation of previous recommendations and accepted by Malaysia in 2009, as well as, the continuing serious violations on the ground in Malaysia.
Amnesty International's current submission to the UNHRC raises continuing concerns and makes recommendations in regard to ratifications of core human rights treaties; the death penalty; freedom of expression, association and assembly; arbitrary arrest and detention; unlawful killings by security forces; torture, ill-treatment and deaths in custody; exploitation of migrants and non-recognition of refugees. These serious violations continue in the frame of Malaysia's inadequate action on UPR recommendations it accepted in 2009 relating to accession to core UN human rights treaties and the improvement of migrant worker situations . Malaysia rejected the abolition of the death penalty and the accession to the UN Convention Related to the Status of Refugees.
Amnesty International recommendations include:
The death penalty
Freedom of expression, association and assembly
Arbitrary arrests and detention
Unlawful killings, custodial deaths, torture or other ill-treatment by state security forces
For complete details of Amnesty International recommendations for action by Malaysia, see the following report.
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, …
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 …
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 …
“The arrest of Zunar is an outrage. The charge of sedition against him must be dropped immediately and he must be unconditionally released from detention. What we are seeing is the choking of dissent in Malaysia, where repressive laws are being used to silence and punish peaceful voices under the guise of national security,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The Malaysian authorities must immediately take steps to protect journalists at the respected news site Malaysiakini against intimidation and threats from vigilantes, Amnesty International said today. The so-called “Red Shirts” movement, has vowed to “tear down” the offices of Malaysiakini on Saturday and continues to mount aggressive demonstrations outside them. “Everyone has a right to …
The conviction of Mohammed Fakhrulrazi Mohammed Mokhtar for sedition should be quashed immediately, Amnesty International said today.
The National Security Council Act that comes into force today empowers the Malaysian authorities to trample over human rights and act with impunity, Amnesty International said today.
The Malaysian authorities’ failure to hold anyone accountable for the death in custody of N. Dharmendran raises serious questions about their commitment to ending serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.
The Malaysian government’s plans to revoke or refuse to issue passports to critics is yet another demonstration of increasing intolerance in the country, Amnesty International said today.
The conviction of prominent lawyer and human rights activist Haris Ibrahim of sedition highlights Malaysia’s increasing determination to crush any form of dissent in the country, Amnesty International said today.