Malaysia

29 million people
8,770 USD GNI (PPP)
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Partly Free

News & Updates

Freedom House calls on Malaysian authorities to cease efforts to bar a peaceful sit-in protest, planned for April 28, calling for electoral reform.

Freedom House is deeply concerned about the detention by Malaysian authorities of Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari, who fled Saudi Arabia to escape death threats for allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammad on Twitter. The 23-year-old Kashgari is at imminent risk of extradition to Saudi Arabia, where he faces charges of blasphemy that can carry the death penalty.

The Malaysian Senate’s passage of the Peaceful Assembly Bill on December 20 is an alarming indication of backsliding in freedom of assembly and expression in Malaysia.

On November 22nd, the Malaysian government announced that it will enact new rules for public demonstrations under the Peaceful Assembly Bill. While the legislation recognizes the fundamental right to freedom of assembly, it will be more restrictive than the current law, since it contains troubling provisions, including a ban on street protests.

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Signature Reports

Special Reports

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights examines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship.  In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.

Programs

Freedom House helps LGBTI rights groups in Southeast Asia to push back against the tide of intolerance.

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