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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Thursday, 24 October 2013 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Represented by 36-member delegation headed by H.E. Ms. Dato Ho’ May Yong, Deputy Secretary-General, Multilateral Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit Malaysia page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Kenya, Japan and Switzerland.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Malaysia page on the UPR Extranet)

  • The Government had approached the preparatory process for the review in an inclusive and transparent manner and had taken into account a wide range of views, including those from civil society.
  • As a developing country, Malaysia remained committed to pursuing a national development agenda with the aim of achieving a high-income developed nation status by 2020.
  • One key initiative with regard to the Government’s on-going efforts to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia was the Government Transformation Programme, an initiative aimed at improving the Government’s delivery of public goods and services, including the right to security and safety; the right to adequate housing; the right to education; and the right to health.
  • The Government was also determined to weed out corruption and corrupt practices at all levels.
  • The Government had also introduced a new legislation to protect whistle-blowers.
  • Beginning in 2009, the Government had undertaken an extensive review of existing laws and regulations, with a view to addressing certain issues related to the enjoyment of civil and political rights.
  • The Government remained committed to pursue its law reform agenda with the aim of removing legislative and other possible impediments to the enjoyment of the full range of human.
  • Malaysia was seeing increased public participation and vibrant discourse with respect to the political situation in the country. Despite the fact that the campaigning period of the last general elections had been marred by several incidents of election-related violence, the voting exercise had ensued in a peaceful manner; it had also set the record for highest voter turnout, totalling 85 per cent.
  • The Government was conscious of the need to work towards rebuilding national unity and achieving national reconciliation after the elections.
  • The Government was undertaking the necessary preparations to receive the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food this December.
  • The Government had also recently decided to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.
  • On the situation of LGBT persons in Malaysia, the Government would handle the matter carefully, taking into consideration, and consistent with, cultural tradition, religious doctrines and societal norms, in accordance with their national laws and regulations.


In total 104States participated in the dialogue:  33 HRC members and 71 observers  (Statements available on Malaysia page on the UPR Extranet ).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially the target on poverty reduction.
  • Work done towards gender equality and advancing the status of women, especially through the National Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women.
  • Realizing free education for primary and secondary schools by abolishing all fees.
  • Significant progress in the area of healthcare.
  • The lifting of a certain number of reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
  • The repealing of the internal Security Act.


Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The negative impact of appropriation of customary land on indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • The situation of migrant worker, refugees and asylum seekers.
  • The restrictive provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act.
  • The fact that death sentences were still being carried out.
  • The restrictions to the freedom of expression under the Printing Press and Publications Act and attempts to tighten control over the Internet and restrict bloggers.
  • Freedom of religion and belief.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Malaysia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To adopt a moratorium on the death penalty.
  • To continue efforts to improve the enjoyment of economic and social rights for all.
  • To provide better health and education services.
  • Removing its reservations on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention and the Rights of the Child.
  • To amend the Peaceful assembly Act.
  • To strengthen the promotion and protection of rights of persons with disabilities.
  • To amend or repeal the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publication Act, as well as the Peaceful Assembly Act to allow the full enjoyment of the freedom of association.
  • To follow-up on the requests by a number of Special Procedures Mandate holders to visit the country.
  • To continue working towards addressing the problem of trafficking in women and children, especially with the help of neighbouring countries.
  • To decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual activities and eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • To continue strengthening Malaysia’s national human rights commission.
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;  the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Additional Protocol; the Convention against Torture; the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and the International Labour Organization Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Malaysia is scheduled to take place onThursday, 31 October 2013.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 
**For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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