People in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Editorial credit: Vladimir Zhoga / Shutterstock.com

Malaysia

The Barisan Nasional (BN) political coalition ruled Malaysia from independence in 1957 until 2018, maintaining power by manipulating electoral districts, appealing to ethnic nationalism, and suppressing criticism through restrictive speech laws and politicized prosecutions of opposition leaders. The BN lost to an opposition alliance in the May 2018 general elections. However, a period of political turbulence and realignment in early 2020 culminated in a new governing coalition that included parties central to the pre-2018 regime. The current government has been resistant to governance reforms, and there are escalating concerns about narrowing freedoms.

People gather in Myanmar to protest the February 1, 2021 military coup. (Image credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Freedom in the World — Malaysia Country Report

Malaysia is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2022, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties. Illustration by Mitch Blunt

Freedom on the Net— Malaysia a Country Report

Malaysia is rated Partly Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe.