Over the years, civil societies in Malaysia experienced numerous obstacles. We fight on and in doing so, the civil society plays an important role. We are proud to say that we have chosen the road to democracy, freedom, human rights and peace, which is the right path.
—— KLSCAH Deputy President Mr Tan Hong Aik
The 5th Civil Society Award received 8 nominees. After the general elections of 308 and 505, civil societies in Malaysia developed in a more matured way. Thus, most of the nominees were organizations based.
1. Justice For Sisters
Justice for Sisters won a landmark judgement at the Court of Appeal, which said Section 66 of the Negeri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1992 is unconstitutional and therefore null and void. The group made up of those from the transgender community and human rights activists made the courageous decision to launch a judicial review against a section in the law.
2.玛丽亚陈 Maria Chin Abdullah
Maria has become an activist in Malaysia dates back to the 1980s. She was active in the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Women’s Development Collective, and later founded Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower).She played an important role in Bersih’s transition to Bersih 2.0 as a civil society-led coalition and led Bersih 4’s iconic 34-hour rally.
3. SAVE Rivers
SAVE Rivers has managed to project the struggle of indigenous peoples against mega-dams in Sarawak onto the national platform. The network has succeeded in highlighting the campaigns led by natives in rural communities to people in towns not only in East Malaysia but also in cities such as Kuala Lumpur in peninsular Malaysia. They linked their campaigns with national indigenous peoples’ network, as well as lobbied KL-based organizations to shine a spotlight on the ongoing violations faced by indigenous activists and rural communities in their resistance against these mega projects.