Malaysia: UPR Joint submission on freedom of expression

Malaysia: UPR Joint submission on freedom of expression - Transparency

On 18 July, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, Komuniti Muslim Universal (Universal Muslim Community) and Sisters In Islam submitted recommendations in Malaysia’s fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mechanism, through which the human rights record of each and every United Nations (UN) Member State is peer-reviewed by all other Member States.

The undersigned organisations observe that the state of freedom of expression in Malaysia has deteriorated since Malaysia’s last UPR in 2018. In these recommendations, an urgent emphasis is placed on international commitments,  existing legal framework, the safety of human rights defenders and journalists, Internet freedom, freedom of peaceful assembly and media freedom.

Recommendations the submitting organisations call on States to recommend the Malaysian government:

  • Sign and ratify the ICCPR, and all other major international human rights treaties.
  • Issue a standing invitation to all Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, and prioritise arranging visits for the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, on human rights defenders, and on freedom of religion or belief.
  • Reform Article 10(a) of the Malaysian Constitution to bring it into conformity with international human rights law.
  • Bring national laws into compliance with international human rights law, including the right to freedom of opinion expression, by repealing or reforming the Sedition Act 1948, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the Film Censorship Act 2002 and Section 114 of the Evidence Act 1950.
  • Reform the Penal Code to protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including by repealing Sections 504 and 505(b), 298 and 298A (1) of the Penal Code.
  • Cease the judicial harassment of persons, in particular journalists, social media users, human rights defenders, artists and cultural performers, for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and freedom of religion or belief, drop all pending criminal charges for such acts, and release all those detained for the exercise of these rights.
  • Reform the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA), including repealing Section 233(1)(a).
  • Protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly by repealing the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.


Read the submission here


For more information

Nalini Elumalai, Senior Malaysia Programme Officer