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Malaysian reform agenda dead: Human Rights Watch

Published on Jan 21, 2014 8:41 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia took a "significant" step backwards in human rights in 2013, a year that appeared to mark the end of Prime Minister Najib Razak's promises of reform, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The United States-headquartered organisation's annual report said Malaysia's rights situation deteriorated sharply after Mr Najib's now 57-year-old ruling coalition was stung by a historic setback in elections in May.

"The election was followed by a significant deterioration in human rights and the apparent abrupt end to Prime Minister Najib's oft-touted reform agenda," the report said.

"Relevant developments in the second half of 2013 included passage of new and revised laws again permitting administrative detention without trial, new arrests of opposition activists for organising peaceful protests, and repression of political speech." Facing ebbing voter support, Mr Najib had in 2011 abolished some repressive laws and pledged to protect rights.

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