Internet Freedoms in Malaysia: Regulating Online Discourse on Race, Religion, and Royalty analyses how Malaysia’s legal provisions impact online discussions of the 3Rs (race, religion and royalty) that question the special position of the Malays, Islam and the Monarchy.
The report explains that Malaysia’s restrictive legal provisions inherited from the colonial era and expanded during the six decades of successive UMNO-led BN governments are used to regulate the online discourse of the 3Rs. Following the 2022 general election, Malaysia finds itself at a political crossroads where three different narratives on the 3Rs that this report labels as traditional, progressive, and right-wing are being used by political parties and coalitions to appeal to the Malay-Muslim community for political legitimacy.
As it was before the 2022 general election, the report argues that websites will continue to be blocked, online content removed, and individuals and organisations connected to the production and dissemination of content that questions the special position of the Malays, Islam and the Monarchy investigated and prosecuted. Meanwhile, online harassment and hate content will continue to be weaponised by ultranationalist groups against those who hold different views in relation to the 3Rs and are allowed to do so without legal consequences.
To improve internet freedoms in the country, this report makes several key recommendations directed at the government, the national human rights institution, parliamentarians, civil society, and technology companies. The implementation of recommendations can help ensure that the 3Rs can be discussed safely without unwarranted censorship and self-censorship in Malaysia.
Here is a recording of the report launch event:
For a full writeup of the report launch, please click here.