SUARAM 25th Anniversary: Defending Human Rights in Malaysia

SUARAM needs your support. We aim to raise RM200,000 to sustain the operations of SUARAM for 2014 via a fundraising dinner.

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The organization is funded by contributions and grants from public and private sources. However in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for Malaysian non-governmental organizations to receive grants because of the changing landscape in funders’ priority areas. As such, financial contribution from ordinary Malaysians is more vital than ever in ensuring the continued existence of SUARAM, to defend and fight for human rights in Malaysia.

Details of fundraising dinner
Date: 23 May 2014 (Friday)
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Banquet Hall, MPBJ Civic Centre, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya

Why should we support SUARAM?

SUARAM is the leading human rights organization in Malaysia since it was established 25 years ago in 1989. It was founded  by a group of former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees under Operation Lalang in 1987, their family members, and social activists.

Over the years it has evolved into a full fledge human rights organization campaigning against the degrading situation of human rights in Malaysia, and to create a society that is just, equal and democratic.

We’ve been at the forefront on many human rights issues  and our key achievements over the past 25 years and current area of work are listed below.

[tabby title= “Key Achievements”]

1 .ISA and Emergency Ordinance repealed and all detainees released – Suaram has campaigned against detention without trial since 1989; ISA and Emergency Ordinance (EO) were abolished in 2011 and the last ISA detainee was released in January 2014;

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SUARAM, together with its partners, campaigned against the ISA since it was established in 1989. In 2011, the draconian law was finally abolished.

2. Reform of Criminal Procedure Code – Suaram campaigned for better protection of rights of detainees and the Criminal Procedure Code was amended in 2007; this led to the shortening of the period of remand orders; the inadmissibility of cautioned statements under Section 112 in court and so preventing self-incrimination, and better access to family and lawyers upon arrest;

3. Annual licensing for print media abolished and promise of abolition of Sedition Act – Suaram campaigned for freedom of expression and press freedom and this resulted in the removal of “absolute discretion” of Home Minister in accepting or rejecting media license application; the repeal of annual license renewal of print media and the promise of prime minister Najib Razak to abolish the Sedition Act in 2012;

4. Section 27 of Police Act repealed – Suaram has provided urgent legal support for those who have been unjustifiably arrested and campaigned for freedom of assembly. Section 27 of the Police Act requiring police permit for public assembly was abolished in 2012;

5. Holding government accountable for Scorpene submarines scandal – Suaram exposed the scandal of suspected corruption in the submarine deal and made an official complaint to the French courts in 2009; it led to protracted harassment by the government in 2012-13 including the threat of deregistration;

Campaigning for good governance, such as whistle blowing on the Scorpene corruption scandal.

6. Establishment of coroner’s courts in 13 states – Suaram campaigned for police accountability in the rising cases of deaths in custody and this led to the recent establishment of coroner’s courts in April 2014 to deal with deaths in custody cases;

7. Improved independence and effectiveness of SUHAKAM – Suaram’s campaigns led to two parliamentary amendments to the National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act in 2009 and this has made the appointment process of commissioners more transparent and more independent candidates appointed;

8. Annual human rights report – Without fail, Suaram has published a comprehensive human rights report documenting and monitoring human rights violations in Malaysia every year since 1998. The report has a reputation of being objective and non-partisan and is keenly awaited every year by local as well as foreign human rights watchers;

Yearly publication of Malaysia’s Human Rights Report, serving as a key documentation of Malaysian human rights track record and history.

9. Raising public awareness on human rights – Suaram has provided invaluable human rights training & education activities to countless students, youth, lawyers, journalists, urban settlers, workers, indigenous peoples, community groups and the general public;

10. Human rights mainstreamed in public policies – Suaram has contributed to research and publication on public policies and peoples’ history, notably on arms spending and energy policies; May 13, Kampung Medan, the independence movement; People Before Profits, Policing the Malaysian Police, the ISA and Operation Lalang.

[tabby title= “Current Work”]

1. Right to Trial – The campaign against detention without trial under the new wave of draconian laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, and Prevention of Crimes Act 2013;

2. Right to Justice – Campaigning for accountability of the police and other enforcement agencies, especially the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC);

Assisting the family of Ulaganathan, who died in police custody at the age of 19. After a 11 year battle, the government conceded and agreed to compensate the family.

3. Documentation & Monitoring – Monitoring, documenting and researching into the violations of human rights in Malaysia, including the annual publication of the human rights report;

4. Refugees, migrants, and human trafficking – Campaigning to protect and promote the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers and persons of concern;

5. Local governance – campaigning for local democracy and good governance, especially for local council elections, freedom of information, and anti-corruption.

[tabby title= “History”]

The organization was founded in 1989 by a group of former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees under Operation Lalang in 1987, their family members, and social activists.

SUARAM was originally established to campaign for the abolition of the ISA and the release of all ISA detainees. However, over the years it has evolved into a full fledge human rights organization campaigning against the degrading situation of human rights in Malaysia, and to create a society that is just, equal and democratic.

The repeal of the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) in 2011 was a major milestone for SUARAM and its partners after a long arduous battle against the oppressive law.


While there have been successes over the years, we are still faced with many human rights challenges. Detention without trial now comes in the guise of new draconian laws such as the Prevention of Crimes Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, and Peaceful Assembly Act. The Malaysian police still gets away with impunity by refusing to accede to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Committee. Our basic freedoms of expression, assembly and association continue to be violated. Freedom of religion is still elusive as the “Allah” and “hudud” controversies rage. Corruption remains one of the major problems in the public arena. The rising cost of living requires reform of strategic public policies and we are still far away from achieving the objectives of good governance and electoral reform regardless of which coalition is in power.


With the emergence of the two front political system in Malaysia, the role of non-governmental organization as independent watchdogs and pressure group is increasingly important. Without adequate finances, SUARAM would not be able to effectively monitor and ensure that the government are on their toes and that the people’s interest remains at the forefront.

Tickets are priced at RM100, RM500, and RM1,000, and can be purchased directly below using credit card:

Alternatively, ticket purchase and contributions can be made by the follow ways:

1. Cheque or cash directly banked-in to the following account:

A/C No: 3103603014 (PUBLIC BANK)
Please forward bank-in slip to [email protected] for our records

2. Visiting SUARAM’s office
at 433A, Jalan 5/46, Gasing Indah, 46000 Petaling Jaya (Tel: +603 7784 3525).

We appeal to those who can, to make contributions of RM5,000 or RM10,000 or even RM30,000 in order to reach our target.

As SUARAM commemorates its 25th Anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to defending human rights and building a better Malaysia for all. We hope Malaysians who share a similar vision will continue supporting us.

Thank you in anticipation.

Tel: +603 7784 3525
Email: [email protected]


Latest Update:

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