‘This timely book by Dr. Kua Kia Soong will not only stand the test of time but will remain a classic reference for years to come… It will be a hard struggle for Malaysians to take back the country from the hands of corrupt and indifferent politicians. Yet we must fight on and Kua has given clear pointers of the issues that we must confront and resolve.’

Dr Ariffin Omar, Former lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia

‘Finally, an honest and critical look into what Malaysians can expect for the next general elections. Kua writes with verve and profundity, raising difficult questions but always in the end grounded on the conviction that a better world is possible. He speaks truth to power. Look no further for the right balance of academic inquiry and accessibility.’

Fuad Rahmat, Business FM

‘Kua’s book is a must read for his critical and valuable analysis of the political, economic and social landscapes shaping Malaysia. He challenges the neo-liberal framework that has defined the policies of both the ruling government and opposition political parties, and offers a very much needed inspiration for the way forward.’
Gayathry Venkiteswaran – Centre for Independent Journalism


Malaysia’s 14th general election will no doubt be fought between a Barisan Nasional coalition that boasts its sixty years of “stable rule” and a Pakatan Rakyat coalition calling on the electorate to “save Malaysia” from the BN’s kleptocracy. Malaysian voters will likely be treated to tirades about current scandals including 1MDB, as well as past scandals, now that the former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir has joined the Opposition. But what are the big issues of this election?

This book, a compilation of the author’s recent writings, discusses the important issues confronting Malaysian society today. If any sustainable democratic progress is to be made in this country, it is crucial that voters are informed and demand that candidates and their parties clarify their stand on these issues well before Election Day. Kua concludes with an alternative programme for Malaysia that is both inclusive and progressive – ‘Manifesto of the 99%’ by The Left Coalition, to transcend the years of corruption, neo-liberal capitalism and lack of democracy. Failure to learn the lessons of the last sixty years of BN rule will condemn the country to a further dysfunctional future for the vast majority of Malaysians.

For those interested, please contact us at suaram(a) or + 603 – 7954 5724

Pendakwaan Keatas Pelarian Kanak-kanak Rohingya Melanggar Hak Asasi Manusia!

*English statement available below

Untuk Hebahan Segera
23 Februari 2017

Pendakwaan Keatas Pelarian Kanak-kanak Rohingya Melanggar Hak Asasi Manusia!
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya penahanan seorang pelarian Rohingya berusia 15 tahun kerana dikatakan tidak memiliki dokumen perjalanan yang sah.

Pelarian kekal sebagai satu daripada komuniti yang paling terpinggir di Malaysia, berikutan keengganan berterusan oleh institusi kerajaan dan kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengakui kewujudan mereka. Vakum undang-undang dari segi hak dan pengiktirafan yang diwujudkan oleh kerajaan Malaysia telah menyumbang kepada eksploitasi meluas pelarian di Malaysia dan membolehkan aktiviti pemerdagangan manusia terus berlaku.

Keputusan untuk mendakwa pelarian kanak-kanak berusia 15 tahun tersebut; kerana tidak memiliki dokumen perjalanan yang sah, menandakan satu lagi penindasan terhadap pelarian oleh kerajaan Malaysia. Walaupun kanak-kanak ini merupakan seorang pelarian, dan dibawah umur, Mahkamah Majistret telah menolak hujahan peguam, untuk menggugurkan kes, serta tidak membenarkan ikat jamin diberikan kepada kanak-kanak tersebut. Akibatnya kanak-kanak tersebut telah ditahan sehingga hari ini. Laporan yang dikeluarkan seorang pakar psikologi, yang dibawa oleh peguam, menunjukkan kesan yang buruk terhadap pertumbuhan mental kanak-kanak tersebut.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak dilihat lantang dalam krisis di Rohingya, namun perlindungan masyarakat Rohingya di Malaysia masih tidak wujud. Kepura-puraan yang ditunjukkan oleh kerajaan Malaysia dalam hal ini jelas menunjukkan percubaan untuk mempolitikkan krisis kemanusiaan.

Penahanan lanjut kanak-kanak ini menbuktikan kegagalan kerajaan Malaysia dalam memenuhi obligasi di bawah Perkara 22 Konvensyen Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu mengenai Hak Kanak-Kanak, di mana kerajaan bertanggungjawab untuk menyediakan perlindungan yang sewajarnya kepada anak-anak pelarian.

SUARAM sekali lagi mengulangi kekesalan kami diatas perkara ini serta mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya layanan buruk serta penganiayaan terhadap pelarian di Malaysia, dan menggesa campur tangan serta-merta ke dalam pendakwaan terhadap kanak-kanak Rohingya berusia 15 tahun berkenaan.

Dalam Solidariti
Sevan Doraisamy
Pengarah Eksekutif


Prosecution of Young Refugee Violates Malaysia’s International Human Rights Obligations!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemn the detention of the 15 years old Rohingya refugee for not possessing appropriate travel documents.

Refugees remain one of the most marginalized community in Malaysia due to the continued refusal to acknowledge their existence by the Malaysian government and government institutions. The legal vacuum in terms of rights and recognition created by the Malaysian government has contributed to the widespread exploitation of refugees in Malaysia and enabled the widespread trafficking activities that continue to plague the refugee community and Malaysians alike.

The decision to prosecute a 15 years old refugee for not possessing appropriate travel documents marks another low in the persecution of refugees in Malaysia by the Malaysian government. Furthermore, despite the potential impact on a child’s development and growth, the person in question has been languishing in detention at Kajang Prison since December 2016 after application for his bail was denied by Sepang Magistrate Court.

Despite the vocal stance adopted by Prime Minister Najib Razak on the crisis in Rohingya, the protection of the Rohingya community in Malaysia remains non-existent. The hypocrisy shown by the Malaysian government in this regard clearly outline the unconscionable attempt to politicize a humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, the continued detention of this individual reveals the failure of the Malaysian government in fulfilling the obligations under Article 22 the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child where the government is obliged to provide appropriate protection and humanitarian to refugee children.

SUARAM once again reiterate our strongest condemnation for the current state of affairs in regards to the persecution of refugees in Malaysia and call for immediate intervention into the prosecution of the 15 years old Rohingya minor in question.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

Launch of SUARAM Annual Human Rights Report 2015

Annual HRR 2015

For Immediate Release
15 June 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) launched its Annual Human Rights Report 2015 on the 15th June 2016 at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

In 2015 as in previous years, Malaysia continued to crack down on critics, dissenters, opposition politicians and human rights defenders. With the introduction of increasingly repressive laws and the crude manner in which the Government of Malaysia stretches the limit of its power to penalize the voices of dissent, Malaysia is tipping further into an autocratic state. In the expansive list of human rights violations recorded in 2015, SUARAM seeks to highlight the following:

Harassment, Restriction and Detention of Dissenters, Political Opposition and Human Rights Defenders

With the exposure of the 1MDB scandal in the international press and the growing voice of dissent, the government initiated its campaign of crackdown against dissenters, political oppositions and human rights defenders. Between the mass arrests during the #KitaLawan, #TangkapNajib and #BantahGST rallies and the investigations and harassments of human rights defenders following Bersih 4.0 under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the Government of Malaysia has repeatedly flaunted its disregard for human rights and the decision by the Court of Appeal in 2014.

Apart from the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, countless opposition leaders and human rights defenders have been subjected to prosecution under the Sedition Act 1948, the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 124 of the Penal Code. In an extreme case, activist Khalid Ismath was subjected to solitary confinement and inhuman treatment when he was detained for expressing his views on the detention of Kamal Hisham.

Justifying Denial of Civil Liberties with Security

Following the high profile terror attacks around the globe in 2015, the Malaysian government claimed the need for stronger measures to prevent terrorism. Under the guise of national security, the Government of Malaysia introduced new laws that are far more repressive and draconian than existing laws. These include the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 that permits detention without trial and the National Security Council Bill that grants the Prime Minister power to declare an area a security area and to impose quasi-emergency status in the area.

Besides the introduction of these new repressive laws, the state launched a series of arrests and detentions under existing provisions including the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, raising grave concerns for the denial of the right to a fair trial. The criminal justice system of Malaysia has also been compromised by the existence of laws such as POCA and POTA. In 2015, the allegations of torture by victims of these laws raise grave concern for the rights and physical well-being of those charged under these Acts. These also cast doubt on the professionalism and effectiveness of the Royal Malaysian Police in countering terrorism and maintaining law and order.

Contempt for the Rights and Welfare of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrant Workers 

The heart wrenching scenes of refugees adrift in the Andaman Sea and the chilling images from the Wang Keliang death camps were not enough to change the stance of the Government of Malaysia or the state government of Penang on the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. They continue to live in fear of harassment, prosecution and deportation. With no respite in sight for the continued harassment and denial of rights of the Rohingya people by the Burmese state, the problems that manifested itself in 2015 during the height of the refugee crisis would likely be repeated in 2016.

State Sanctioned Corporate Interests at the Expenses of Human Rights

With scant respect for human rights, corporations and businesses have been given a free hand to accumulate profits in Malaysia. While cases of illegal logging, forced evictions and land grabs have become common news items, the state and the police seem ineffectual in preventing the confiscation of the rights and interest of the people affected.

The signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement in 2016 despite the vocal opposition and protests in 2015 leaves Malaysians apprehensive about the negative impact on the welfare and rights of Malaysians that the TPPA will bring.

SUARAM’s Proposals

The political turmoil within the ruling government as well as the opposition is challenging for human rights defence whether civil and political rights or economic, social and cultural rights. Regardless of political inclination, the events that transpired in 2015 have reaffirmed the need for immediate steps to be taken to remedy the on-going human rights violations.

To this end, SUARAM calls upon the Government of Malaysia to sign and ratify the remaining international conventions and to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur to investigate and report on human rights in Malaysia.

SUARAM further calls upon the Royal Malaysian Police to reform its operations and structure to be more transparent and accountable by establishing a memorandum of understanding with SUHAKAM and EAIC outlining best practices to be adopted by the police to ensure that the standard operating procedures of the Royal Malaysian Police are compliant with international human rights norms.

With these recommendations, SUARAM hopes that 2016 will not be another year of dark despair but a year of redemption for human rights in Malaysia.

In Solidarity

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

Copy of the report can be purchased from SUARAM or GerakBudaya. For more information, kindly email [email protected] or call our office at +03 7784 3525!

Malaysian faces execution in Singapore: calling for Clemency for Kho Jabing

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Malaysian faces execution in Singapore: calling for Clemency for Kho Jabing

Roughly half a year ago, civil societies in Malaysia and Singapore came together to appeal for clemency for Kho Jabing, a Sarawakian on death row in the island state who was recently rescheduled for execution.

On the 13th May 2016, the family was notified that Kho Jabing will be executed on the 20th May 2016. This came as a shock to the family and activists who have campaigned for Kho Jabing’s clemency. Kho Jabing was convicted of murder and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty on 30 July 2010. However, after the 2012 review of the mandatory death penalty laws, on 14 August 2013 the High Court resentenced Kho Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane. On 14 January 2015, the Court of Appeal re-imposed the death penalty on Kho Jabing in a three-to-two split decision. A last minute appeal admitted on 3 November, three days before his scheduled execution, was dismissed on 5 April 2016.

Kho Jabing and his family have already endured the distress of facing an imminent execution and we are urging the authorities of Malaysia to leave no stone unturned and do their utmost best to advocate with their Singaporean conterparts to spare them further suffering..

In light of these information and the concerns raised last year, we implore the President of Singapore to give due consideration to the aforementioned issues relating to Kho Jabing’s case and grant clemency for Kho Jabing. At the very least, the scheduled execution should be set aside pending the appeal that Kho Jabing’s lawyer intend to submit.

Once again, we implore those in power to take swift action and ensure that this injustice is put to an end. Failure to take swift action to safeguard Kho Jabing’s right would only bring about more unnecessary grief to the family and needless taint on Singapore’s human rights records.


Amnesty International Malaysia

D-2-33A, 8 Avenue
Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1, Section 8
46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
T: +603 7955 2680
F: +603 7955 2682
E: [email protected]
Twitter: amnestymy

Civil Rights Committee, KLSCAH

No 1, Jalan Maharajalela
50150 Kuala Lumpur
T: +603 2274 6645
F: +603 2272 4089


433A, Jalan 5/46, Jalan Gasing Indah
46000 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
T: +603 – 7784 3525
F: +603 – 7784 3526
E: [email protected]
Twitter: SUARAM Tweets




“Any work by perhaps Malaysia’s most prolific public intellectual is a welcome addition to our very small corpus of contemporary scholarship… Kua Kia Soong has done a remarkable job on many diverse subjects… I have no hesitation in recommending his latest book, and hope that his prolific pen continues to write bravely and frequently.”
– Tommy Thomas, Senior lawyer in the Malaysian Bar

“For more than forty years Kua Kia Soong has been writing – with both wit and wisdom – about what ails Malaysia. His latest collection of essays takes off from the premise that the country is mired in religious and sectarian bigotry, deeply institutionalised racism, ‘national security’ as a cloak for authoritarianism and ravenous corruption. Malaysia needs audacious voices that speak without fear. In asking the right questions, his provocations open up the possibility of another kind of society, standing firmly on the side of rationality, truth, justice, democracy and human rights.”
– Gareth Richards, Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Penang


The rise of the far-right and the religious bigots in Malaysia has in turn given rise to a ‘Movement of Moderates’. In the body politic, espousing “moderation” becomes imprecise since it is an example of the kind of language that is also used by the powers-that-be to deal with those who uphold truth, justice and human rights. Malaysian society is fast becoming an Orwellian dystopia in which labels such as “moderates”, “extremists”, “national security”, “national harmony” and other fluffy terms have become relative and imprecise, depending on how they are defined by  the state and the judiciary.

In this collection of provocative essays, Dr Kua Kia Soong analyses the glaring issues as they have arisen in the current Malaysian political sphere. In his characteristic straight-talking and non-partisan approach, he takes to task the ruling Barisan Nasional and the alternative Pakatan Rakyat coalitions on these national and international issues. He calls for far-reaching reforms that recognize all citizens as equal and promote healthy ethnic relations, while dealing effectively with racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance in our society.

Dr Kua Kia Soong is director of the Malaysian human rights organization SUARAM. He was principal of the community-funded New Era College (2000-2008); Opposition MP for Petaling Jaya (1990-95); director of the Malaysian Chinese Research Centre (1985-90); political detainee under the ISA (1987-89); lecturer in Sociology at National University of Singapore (1978-79).