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


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 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. That government was resistant to governance reforms. Concerns about narrowing freedoms persist.

Freedom on the Net 2023

Freedom on the Net— Malaysia Country Report

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

Iranian people in Izmir protest the death of Mahsa Amini by the morality police in Iran.

Freedom in the World — Malaysia Country Report

Malaysia is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.