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


The same 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 coalition lost to an opposition alliance in the May 2018 general elections, and the new government began to deliver on its promises of reform, though the momentum for legislative changes appeared to ebb by year’s end.

FIW Hong Kong hero photo

Freedom in the World — Malaysia Country Report

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

A young woman wearing a protective mask looks at her smartphone while passing by a grafitti representing two big watching eyes in Berlin, Germany on April 1, 2020. Illustrative Editorial (Photo by Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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.