Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 06/2012

Political Reforms in Malaysia: Winds of Change or Hot Air?

Justina Chen

May 2012

East-West Center


Since Malaysia Day last September, the administration of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has undertaken a whirlwind of legislative and policy reforms—making Najib arguably the most reformist Malaysian prime minister ever. Political pundits remark that the rushed reforms which were undertaken without consultation with key stakeholders are a sign that a general election is imminent, perhaps to be held in less than two months. Over the course of the last six months there have been a record number of legislative reforms including: repeal of the infamous Internal Security Act; amendments to the University and University Colleges Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act; announcement of a minimum wage policy as well as the passing of the Security Offenses Bill and Peaceful Assembly Act.