At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Malaysia’s ongoing crackdown against campaigners for electoral reform

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

adalert.gif(UPDATED 12 July) Monitor this page to be kept informed updates on unfolding events regarding the Malaysian government crackdown to stop the 9 July 2011 rally on electoral reform.

Learn more about the background of these events by clicking this link to the Asian Defender Alert on this issue. The contents of this webpage is based on a document that can be accessed at this link. This document also contains more details. Please note that updates are made according to the time of receipt and are not listed chronologically. 

UPDATE 31: Habeas corpus court hearing 6 PSM leaders on 22 July

(13 July 2011) The High Court will hear the habeas corpus application filed by the six detained Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders on 22 July 2011. The six request the Court to order their immediate release. The habeas corpus application was filed on 6 July 2011 and the hearing date was first set on 12 August 2011. (Bernama)

UPDATE 30: ‘Missing’ activist Hii Tiong Huat found detained

(12 July 2011) Online Malaysian newspaper Malaysiakini has learnt that ‘missing’ activist Hii Tiong Huat is being remanded at the Bukit Jalil police station, being the last Bersih 2.0 supporter  to be released apart from the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists detained under the Emergency Ordinance. Hii was being investigated under the Societies Act of 1966 but the police has not yet decided whether to charge him or not. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 29: Open Court hearing EO 6 scheduled for 12 August 2011

(11 July 2011) The case of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists detained under Emergency Ordinance 1969 has been fixed for hearing on 12 August 2011. The decision was made at the habeas corpus management hearing at the Jalan Duta Court Complex today. (Free Malaysia Today)

UPDATE 28: All 1,667 arrested freed, 6 PSM leaders remain detained under Emergency Ordinance

(11 July 2011)  A total of 1,667 people arrested for taking part in various rallies in Kuala Lumpur on 9 July 2011 have all been released. Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar stated that all those arrested, including 151 women and 16 children, were taken to the police training centre (Pulapol) in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur and were later released. One protester however, Mr. Hii Tiong Huat, has been missing since. Six PSM leaders remain detained without trial under sections 3(1) and 4(1) of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (EPOPCO), which allows police to detain suspects for up to 60 days.  (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 27: Over 1,500 people arrested, police use teargas and water cannon

(9 July 2011) As of 6.40 pm, police stated that 1,667 protesters were arrested today, including 16 minors. Nine key figures have been arrested in and around Kuala Lumpur. Ms. Fadiah Nadwa Fikri of Lawyers for Liberty said that the police have invoked section 28A(8) of the Criminal Procedure Code – denial of access to lawyers – at Pulapol (Police Training Centre), where the arrested people are detained. (SUARAM Urgent Appeal,  Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today)

UPDATE 26: Official police count: “236 arrests since this morning”

(9 July 2011) The Royal Malaysia Police has shared their official number of 236 arrests this morning on their Facebook page . Out of the 236 people arrested, 228 are men and 8 are women. (Facebook page of the Royal Malaysia Police)

UPDATE 25: Police says “21 arrested since last night”

(9 July 2011) The Royal Malaysia Police stated on their Facebookpage that they have arrested 21 people around the national capital from last night to 9 am today on suspicion of planning to take part in illegal rallies. According to a spokesman at the Bukit Aman police headquarters, those arrested are all men, aged between 16 and 60. He said 17 of them were arrested last night while the rest were picked up this morning. One of them had been released on police bail while the rest were still undergoing documentation process. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 24: Police combs 3 hotels in Kuala Lumpur

(9 July 2011) The Malaysian authorities are further tightening the screws on Bersih 2.0 supporters, with checks on several hotels in the Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur. Police was present yesterdaynight at three hotels, namely Puteri Park Hotel, the Swiss Inn and Lotus Hotel, patrolling in corridors and checking guest lists. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 23: Sarawak activist arrested in Petaling Street

(8 July 2011) Hii Tiong Huat, a maverick activist who had contested in the recent Sarawak state election was arrested by police after he brought his gimmicks to Kuala Lumpur today to protest against the crackdown on Bersih 2.0. He appeared at Petaling Street alone holding up a self-made signboard and a Malaysia flag. Shortly after that a police patrol car arrived, and the two police officers got out and politely requested Hii to get in, repeating that they had received orders to arrest him. He was then brought to the Dang Wangi police station. Efforts are being made to bail him out. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 22: Online newspaper Malaysiakini comes under DDOS attack

(8 July 2011) Online newspaper, Malaysiakini has come under a sustained distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, since 5pm today. In a DDOS attack, multiple programmes running on servers or personal computers in different countries are used to bombard a site's server with multiple requests to view the site until the server is flooded and is unable to respond. Due to Malaysiakini's new server infrastructure after the last DDOS attack during the Sarawak state election three months ago, the site managed to ride the first wave of the attack and remains accessible to the public. Malaysiakini has been extensively covering the crackdown in the run-up to the 9 July 2011 rally. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 21: Bersih 2.0 fails to get permit for Stadium Merdeka rally

(8 July 2011) Election reform pressure group Bersih 2.0 has clarified in a tweet message that the police had rejected its application for a permit to hold its rally in Stadium Merdeka. Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Amar Singh told Malaysiakini that a permit had not been issued. "As far as I know, no permits have been issued for July 9," he said. When pressed further, he conceded that the first person to know would be the Dang Wangi district police chief Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman, but that a police permit was still unlikely. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 20: Ten Kajang councillors charged over Bersih T-shirts

(8 July 2011) Ten Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) councillors were charged at a magistrate’s court in Putrajaya on 7 July 2011 for wearing Bersih 2.0 T–shirts within the vicinity of Menara MPKj (for their arrest see UPDATE 8). They were charged under the Societies Act 1966 Section 47 (1) for wearing the T–shirts during the council’s full board meeting on 29 June 2011. (The Star )

UPDATE 19: PKR Youth secretary charged with possessing, displaying ‘Bersih’ T-shirt

(8 July 2011) The Youth secretary of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Ms. Zulhaidah Suboh was charged in the magistrates’ court with two offences under Society Act 1966 (for her arrest see UPDATE 16). The 38-year-old aspiring politician was charged with possessing two pieces of T-shirt printed with ‘Bersih 2.0’ wordings and displaying by wearing T-shirt with ‘Bersih 2.0’ printed on it. Both offences under Section 47 of Society Act 1966 (Act 335) prescribed jail sentence of not more than two years or fine of not more than RM5,000 or both upon conviction. She pleaded not guilty to both charges. (The Borneo Post)

UPDATE 18: Court orders locks out 91 persons associated with Bersih, Umno Youth and Perkasa from entering Kuala Lumpur on 9 July 2011

(7 July 2011) Police have obtained court orders to prevent 91 persons associated with Bersih, Umno Youth and Perkasa from entering Kuala Lumpur on 9 July 2011, and also to shut down city roads, to effectively paralyse any attempts to rally on the day. City police chief Datuk Amar Singh said that the public are strongly discouraged from going into the city on Saturday. He noted that the restriction order was clear and that all of the 91 individuals are barred from even passing through the city between 8am and 6pm on July 9 — whether on foot or in any vehicle, including the public buses or trains. He added  that those who breached the order would be committing an offence under Section 188 of the Penal Code, which is considered disobeying a public servant who is lawfully empowered to keep the peace and can be jailed up to six months and fined up to RM2,000. (The Malaysian Insider)

UPDATE 17: Bersih 2.0 to rally in stadium, not on streets

(5 July 2011) Bersih 2.0 will hold its rally for electoral reform in a stadium and not in the streets. Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bersih committee member Zaid Kamaruddin and national laureate A. Samad Ismail had an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in Istana Negara on 5 July 2011. Datuk Ambiga told afterwards reporters that they accept the government’s offer to hold the demonstration in a stadium and not in the streets. (Malaysia Insider)

UPDATE 16: Sarawak PKR woman leader arrested over Bersih T-shirt

(5 July 2011) The Youth secretary of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak Zulhaidah Suboh, has been arrested on 4 July 2011 for wearing a yellow Bersih T-shirt. She is believed to be the first Sarawakian to be arrested in relation to the Bersih 2.0 rally which is calling for electoral reforms. Zulhaida was first questioned at the Kuching International Airport early yesterday. She was on her way to Miri.  The police allowed her to catch her flight to Miri. She arrived in Miri at about 1.30 pm, where a team of policemen continued questioning her at the airport police station. ( )

UPDATE 15: 23 PSM members charged under ISA over leaflets mentioning Bersih 2.0 rally

(4 July 2011)  A total of 23 Parti Sosialis Malaysia members out of the 30 that were arrested on 25 June 2011, were charged at a Sessions Court in Butterworth on Monday under the Societies Act 1966 for possessing 600 leaflets on the proposed illegal Bersih 2.0 July 9 rally. They were also charged under the Internal Security Act 1960 for carrying subversive documents. All of them were released on a total of RM 8,000 (2,663 USD) bail each. (The Star)

UPDATE 14:  Member of Parliament detained over Bersih 2.0 flyers and T-shirts

(4 July 2011) In Shah Alam, Member of Parliament S. Manikavasagam was arrested by police at the Meru wholesale market for distributing flyers to promote the illegal assemblies on 9 July 2011. The police also claimed that they had confiscated banned Bersih 2.0 T-shirts from the booth of his car. The MP's personal assistant, P.M. Jayachandran, who was with him at the time of the arrest, was also detained. The two men were later released on police bail after their statements were taken. (

UPDATE 13: 7 People arrested in Kuala Terrengganu

(4 July 2011) Seven people, including Dungun PAS Youth chief Syeikh Mohamad Hanafi Abdul Aziz, 38, were arrested in Kuala Terrengganu on 30 June 2011. Hanafi was detained in Jalan Alor Tembesu, Dungun, at about 6pm on Thursday after he stopped police from taking down Bersih 2.0 rally banners he had put up. Five others were arrested for distributing flyers on a ceramah (demonstration) planned at a mosque in Dungun after Friday prayers. The police also detained a varsity student in Bukit Payong for possession of flyers and T-shirts for the rally to be held in Kuala Lumpur. Following the arrests, police confiscated banners, flyers, T-shirts and other paraphernalia used to promote the illegal streets demonstrations. (

UPDATE 12: 6 DAP Members Detained over Distributing Flyers and Wearing Yellow T-shirts

(4 July 2011) Bakri Member of Parliament Er Teck Hwa of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and five other members of the party were detained by police on 3 July 2011 for allegedly distributing Bersih 2.0 rally-related flyers at the Taman Sri Tebrau market in Johor Bahru at 9.40 am. They were holding a 'gotong-royong' campaign where they were distributing flyers and wearing yellow T-shirts with the words "Negara BERSIH Rakyat Bertuah" and the picture broom and dust pan. Police chief Zainuddin Yaacob confirmed their arrests and said the case was being investigated under the Societies Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act and Sedition Act. Besides the arrests, police also dispatched 100 men and 14 officers to Plaza Angsana on receiving information that a demonstration was to be held there in relation to the July 9 illegal street demonstrations. (

UPDATE 11: 17 PAS leaders and members arrested in Melaka

(4 July 2011) Seventeen Melaka Pan- Malaysian Islamic Members (PAS) leaders and members, between 30 and 72 years-old, were arrested on 3 July 2011 around 2.15 pm for the possession of of Bersih 2.0 T-shirts. The seventeen are remanded for three days while they are being investigated under Section 47 of the Societies Act for possession of Bersih T-shirts. The police recorded statements from all seventeen from 5 pm to 7 pm. According to the police, they confiscated 113 banned "Bersih" T-shirts and 303 flyers promoting the illegal assemblies when making the arrest. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 10: South Korean Activist Deported, Filipino Activist Still Detained

(4 July 2011) One of two so-called 'foreign agents' arrested by the authorities has been deported. Ms. Song Min Young, 24, was flown back to South Korea in the evening of 1 July 2011. Ms. Song, a Chonnam National University student, was undertaking an internship programme with the National Institute of Electoral Integrity (NIEI), a local elections monitoring outfit.  On 25 June 2011, she was first detained while observing Parti Sosialis Malaysia's (PSM) roadshow in Johor as part of her research for NIEI. Also detained during the roadshow was Filipino political activist Mr. Romy Castillo, 56, who was a PSM guest in Malaysia for one month. Both Ms. Song and Mr. Castillo were released on the same day after their statements were recorded. On 27 June 2011, Ms. Song was rearrested in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. Castillo was arrested on 30 June 201 afternoon while trying to board a plane back to Manila. (

UPDATE 9: Seven People Detained for Supporting the Bersih 2.0 rally

(4 July 2011) Seven people were arrested in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on 2 July 2011 after police received word that one was wearing a Bersih 2.0 T-shirt. The seven were having breakfast in a coffee shop in Asia City at 10.40am. About 70 police personnel surrounded the group and took them to Karamunsing police station for questioning. They were not handcuffed and were allowed to call their lawyers. They were finally released on bail about seven hours later. (

UPDATE 8: 23 Kajang Councillors Wearing Bersih T-shirts Called for Questioning by the Police

(4 July 2011) Twenty-three Kajang councillors wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts were called up on 30 June 2011 by the police for questioning. Seven of the councillors were present at the Kajang district police station in Selangor to give their statements in the evening. They were accompanied by lawyer and Segambut parliamentarian, Lim Lip Eng. The councillors were not informed by the police under what section of the law they were being investigated. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 7:  6 PSM members re-arrested

(2 July) 6 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, including a Member of Parliament, have been rearrested earlier today under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which allows for 60 day detention without trial, renewable for up to 2 years at the discretion of the Home Minister.[1] The 6 were part of a group of 30 PSM activists who were remanded on 25 June for “waging war against the King”(see incident 7 in the table below). (SUARAM via email)

UPDATE 6: 14 arrested in Kedah

(2 July) Police arrested 14 activists, mostly from the People's Justice Party (PKR), involved in the Bersih campaign at a coffeeshop this morning. The 11 men and three women including PKR Kedah legal bureau chief Gooi Hsiao Leung were arrested at about 9:20am for conspiring with Bersih campaigners who are planning a mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 5: 3 picked up in Batu Gajah

(2 July) Three PKR Youth members were arrested in Batu Gajah, Perak at the town market around 9.20 this morning for wearing the yellow Bersih 2.0 T-shirts, even though they were wearing another garment over the trademark tee. According to PKR Perak deputy secretary Tan Kar Hing, the trio were simply having tea when the police picked them up. The police asked them to open their shirts, and arrest them after finding that the inner T-shirt is the Bersih T-shirt," reported Tan. (Malaysiakini)

UPDATE 4:  Home Minister outlaws Bersih 2.0

(1 July) Electoral reforms movement Bersih 2.0 has been declared illegal by the Home Ministry effective July 1 for causing “an atmosphere of unrest,” a week before its planned July 9 rally. The reasons given for the ban are: (i) Being active and sparking an atmosphere of unrest and worry among the multiracial community in the country; (ii)  Spreading propaganda to incite the people to topple the government by distributing certain leaflets; (iii)  Its activities have given a bad image to the country, which can threaten and undermine public order, security, economy and country’s sovereignty and affect the harmony of the multiracial community. (Malaysia Insider)

UPDATE 3: Four more Bersih-related arrests

(30 June) Four more individuals, including a member of Parliament,  have been arrested earlier this morning in relation to an on-going crackdown on the civil society initiated Bersih 2.0 rally, slated for 9 July. No reason for the arrest was stated by the police, but three of the four were wearing yellow t-shirts, while one had a yellow t-shirt in his hands.  With these four arrests, a total of 108 arrests have been made in relation to an on-going crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly. [video link]

UPDATE 2: 14 Pakatan Rakyat members Arrested in Sungai Siput, Perak for Wearing Bersih 2.0 T-Shirts

(29 June) Fourteen members of Pakatan Rakyat including two Perak State Assembly Representatives wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirt at the Sunagi Siput were arrested while distributing the Malaysian flag. The police arrested them asking the people to join the 9 July 2011 rally and were asked to take off the Bersih 2.0 t-shirts they were wearing. [video link]

UPDATE 1: Raid of Bersih 2.0 Secretariat (Empower Office) and Arrest of Six Staff and a Volunteer

(29 June) The office of Bersih 2.0 Secretariat (Empower Office) was raided today. Six staff and one volunteer were arrested and brought to Police Ipd Petaling Jaya. The police went to Bersih 2.0 office without any warrant and threaten to break in if they are not allowed entry. All Bersih 2.0 rally related materials were also confiscated. During the raid, the police denied entry of other NGOs and Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee members into the office. The police took statements from the staff but later changed their mind and brought them to Police Ipd Petaling Jaya instead. All those arrested have been released on bail as of last night.


Prior incidents of arrest and police "invitations" related to the ongoing Malaysian government crackdown to stop the 9 July Electoral Reform Rally, as compiled by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Incident no.


Arrest or call for record



Reason of the Arrest



Ambiga Sreenevasan, chairperson of Bersih 2.0, and poet Datuk A. Samad Said
were summoned to the  police station to give a statement in relation to
the Bersih 2.0 rally



two were summoned to give a statement in relation to the Bersih 2.0
rally.  Both are being investigated under Section 27(5) of the Malaysia
Police Act and Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has
received an anonymous death threat for her involvement in organizing the
Bersih 2.0 rally. 


27 June

2 opposition leaders arrested and
called by police to record statement

Banting , Selangor

Released on 28th June

Police arrested Senator Ramakrishnan
for promoting Bersih in Banting. YB Philip Tan arrested for wearing Bersih


26 June

4 opposition members called by
Police to record their statements.

Kuala Lumpur

No update

For allegedly promoting an illegal
rally in their speeches or activities.
They include Negeri Sembilan PKR Youth chief Nazree Yunus, Sepang PKR division
chief Borhan Aman Shah, PKR Seri Muda state assemblyperson Shuhaimi Shafie
and PAS Bukit Gantang MP Nizar Jamaluddin.


26 June

One person arrested for wearing
yellow Bersih T-shirts

Gombak, Selangor

Released on 27th June
around 12.45am.

Arrested at a ceramah in Gombak and
brought to Balai Polis Gombak. His statement was taken, and shirt was


26 June

7 arrested by police for wearing
yellow Bersih T-shirts

Taman Kosas, Ampang

Released on 27th June
around 2am.

They were found wearing yellow
T-shirts with 'Bersih 2.0' written in the Malay Jawi script at Taman Kosas.


25 June

5 PKR Youth Hulu Selangor including
its deputy chief, Hafiz Abdul Rahman summoned for questioning

Petaling Jaya at Felda Gedangsa


Called by the police to give
statements when they gave a talk to invite people to join Bersih 2.0 rally


25 June

31 PSM activists arrested at the Sg.
Dua toll at Kepala Batas

Dua toll at Kepala Batas

On 26/6, the remaining 30 were
remanded for 7 days (until 2 July) and one minor was released

PSM activists of the Udahlah
Bersaralah campaign were stopped at Sg Dua toll. They were brought to IPD
Kepala Batas. Bus was searched and Bersih and Udahlah leaflets were found.
Probed under S.122 of Penal code. .


25 June

28 PSM activists of the Udahlah
Bersaralah campaign arrested at Tangkak, Johor

Tangkak, Johor

Released on 26th june
2011 around 4am in the morning

Those arrested were brought to IPD
Ledang. At 4am, all 28 were released on police bail. It is believed that they
were investigated under Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications


25 June

6 Bersih 2.0 leaders, activists and
political party leaders summoned by police for questioning

Kuala Lumpur


The leaders are Ambiga Sreenevasan,
Maria Chin Abdullah, Hishamuddin Rais, S. Arutchelvan, Teresa Kok and Fadiah
Nadwa. They were summoned for investigations but they postponed the date.


24 June

7 PSM activists arrested at the
Kluang, Johor

Kluang, Johor

Released on 25th June
around 12am

For leafleting Bersih 2.0 leaflets
and Udahlah, Bersaralah campaign


24 June

2 individuals arrested

Kg Padang Jawa, Shah Alam

Released on 25 June around 2am

Wearing and carrying Bersih t-shirt.
Their t-shirts were confiscated


24 June

PKR Youth deputy chief Khairul Anuar
Ahmad Zainuddin

Shah Alam

Released on 25 June 2011 around 1am

Taken to Shah Alam police
headquarters. Was not informed on grounds of arrest. Arrested for doing
nothing. Wearing Bersih T-shirt at that time.


22 June

PKR Youth member Razali Abd Ghafar


Released on 22 June 2011

Selling Bersih T-shirts during a
Pakatan ceramah at Sepang.





The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is comprised of Malaysian civic and human rights organisations campaigning for clean and fair elections, and aiming to independently monitor the upcoming 13th general elections in mid-2012. Bersih 2.0 plans to hold a mass rally on 9 July 2011 called “Walk for Democracy” in Kuala Lumpur to demand a set of electoral reforms including fair access of all political parties to the media, reform of postal ballots, and a revision of the electoral roll to address irregularities. It is anticipated that 60,000 to 100,000 will participate in the rally.

The police have already announced that no gathering will be permitted on 9 July 2011 on the basis of the Malaysia Police Act Section 27 which requires organisers of public gatherings of three or more persons to seek permits before hand. This contravenes the clear guarantee of the Federal Constitution Article 10(1)(b) “all citizens have the right to assemble peacefully and without arms”.

The Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Hishammuddin Hussein, has repeatedly indicated that the authorities may apply the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) to prosecute the organisers of the Bersih 2.0 mass rally as well as any other gathering on 9 July. Section 73(1) of the ISA allows the police to detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial or access to legal counsel.