A Toolkit on Advancing Human Rights through the Malaysian Legislative Process


A Toolkit on Advancing Human Rights through the Malaysian Legislative Process

Leaders across Southeast Asia are increasingly adopting laws that restrict fundamental freedoms. In this context, parliamentarians, through their legislative mandate, become an important shield against further erosion of human rights. Members of Parliament (MPs) can repeal or amend restrictive bills as they reach parliament.

To be able to engage them effectively, APHR and civil society organizations in Southeast Asia must be able to understand and know the parliamentary legislative process. However, the legislative system can seem complex to those unfamiliar with it and is perceived as overwhelming or intimidating to many who try to navigate it in almost absolute darkness.

To respond to this gap, APHR carried out research in a total of five countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, to better understand and unpack the legislative processes in each country. The research covered the legislative process, including the different stages a bill can go through, how to write an amendment, who can initiate a bill, what is the usual practice in the country, as well as effective entry points for law reform advocacy.

The research was completed in early 2023 and it was based on desk research, including a review of Constitutions, parliamentary rules and procedures, Speaker rulings, reports, and other relevant sources. Interviews with MPs, MPs staff, and civil society were also carried out to ensure the research reflected the actual practices or conventions on the ground.

The research is then developed into a pedagogical and accessible report to explain the different steps in the legislative procedures and where MPs can intervene to either amend or repeal a law and to be made available to civil society partners to engage more effectively with the parliamentary process.


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ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) was founded in June 2013 with the objective of promoting democracy and human rights across Southeast Asia. Our founding members include many of the region's most progressive Members of Parliament (MPs), with a proven track record of human rights advocacy work.

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