Biweekly Human Rights Roundup

Plea to Government on Labour Day, Data Privacy Concerns in MCO, Online Gender-based Attacks…Human Rights Round-up (01/05/2020)

Local news

1. Plea to Government on Labour Day – the MTUC

1 May 2020 (5)


The ILO’s latest report states more than 1.6 bilion people in the informal economy, or nearly half of the world’s workforce, are in immediate danger of losing their livelihood.

The foremost question on the mind of every worker in Malaysia is: Who will step forward to help us? The answer is: The government. And the reason is because employers have bailed out.

Hence, the MTUC urges the government to give priority to the workers’ welfare not only during this MCO but also beyond, by coming up with specific and comprehensive plans to protect them from being irresponsibly retrenched or unnecessary pay cuts.

2. Gerak Malaysia – data privacy concerns

1 May 2020 (4)
(Mzukri – The Malaysian Reserve)

#RighttoPrivacy #DataProtection

The Gerak Malaysia app used to facilitate interstate travelling permit application during the MCO has garnered concerns about data privacy and protection.

Applicants are required to provide their name, address, MyKad and phone number. Then, the government will observe the data obtained to decide when to allow for interstate travel. 

A netizen said the app was denied by MKN the next day after being publicized by MCMC. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) said it was not approved by the MKN because of its ability to track location. 

3. Xenophobic threats against Rohingya

1 May 2020 (3)
(The Sun Daily)


A groundless claim of a Rohingya rights group demanding full citizenship has gone viral on FB.  Despite the post having been deleted, it triggered hateful, xenophobic comments against the Rohingya community. The leader of the rights group said he received death threats; and aid distribution efforts were called off due to security concerns.

Thus far, there has not been news on whether the wrongdoer was held liable. The effect of such irresponsible behaviour against a marginalized group is life-threatening. Swift action ought to be taken.

4. Online gender-based attacks

1 May 2020 (2)
(Lim Heuy Teng – Malaysiakini)

#FreedomofSpeech #WomensRights

Malaysian ambassador for the European Rohingya Council Tengku Emma Zuriana has received numerous online threats for expressing concern over the pushback of Rohingya refugees back to sea. 

The CSOs have documented the following forms of violence thus far: 

  • Doxxing – a gross violation by researching and publishing her personal information online, including her NRIC, phone number, car number plate, personal photographs, etc.; 
  • Malicious distribution of a photograph of her son, a minor, and other personal information, often accompanied by aggressive, racist or sexist comments
  • Threat of rape and other physical harm, and; 
  • Distribution of fake and sexually explicit images. 

The attacks, targeted her gender, particularly, with some including calls for rape. They were also intensely racist, both specifically targeted at her as well as the Rohingya.

HAKAM condemned such attacks hinder discussion of the issue. They incite public disorder and undermine morality, falling foul of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 10(2) of the Federal Constitution.

Tengku Emma has since lodged a report with the MCMC.

International news

1. Deportation of man with HIV blocked by the UK Supreme Court

1 May 2020
(PA Media; BBC)

The deportation of a criminal to Zimbabwe has been stopped by the UK Supreme Court amid concerns his life would be significantly shortened due to absence of suitable medical care for his HIV condition. This is based on a ruling at the European Court of Human Rights.

While the Supreme Court had the power to ignore the Strasbourg judgment because of the UK’s existing law, they unanimously agreed the man is not to be deported until it is proven that his condition can be adequately managed in Zimbabwe.

A 2-page press summary of the case can be found here.


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