MALAYSIA HUMAN NIGHTS REPORT 2021
SUARAMs Annual Human Rights Report on Malaysia is widely recognised as the most objective, comprehensive, and dependable source of information on the state of human rights in Malaysia. It documents the human rights violations as well as the struggles for human rights that take place in Malaysia during the year.
In 2021, Malaysia continued to grapple with political turmoil arising from the notorious Sheraton Move and the concomitant resurgence of Covid-19. The political crisis, which stemmed from the alleged loss of parliamentary majority by former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, resulted in the country being put under abrupt emergency rule and haphazard lockdowns.
Malaysias human rights situation deteriorated further in 2021, with the government clamping down on freedom of expression and assembly to stifle dissent, amid worsening political instability in the first half of the year. Security laws that violate the right to fair trial continued to be abused throughout the year. Incidents related to police abuse of power showed no sign of decreasing, while cases of deaths in police custody were also periodically reported.
Freedom of expression also suffered a major setback in Malaysia when the government manipulated its emergency powers to enact a fake news ordinance. Besides the fake news ordinance, other repressive laws, namely the Sedition Act 1948 and Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, were frequently used to investigate social activists such as Fahmi Reza, Mohammad Alshatri and Mohammad Asraf. While the freedom to assemble was exercised regularly by activists in 2021, they were not spared from police intimidation. Many individuals who took part in these assemblies were investigated under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.