How can we protect children from bullying in schools?

HAKAM’s recently released report on bullying in Malaysian schools has revealed that bullying is widespread, with more than 14,000 cases taking place between 2012 and 2015. The majority of cases involved physical bullying, but cases of cyberbullying, verbal bullying and social bullying were also prevalent.

The report found that bullying is having an alarming effect on the mental health of young Malaysians, including lowered self-esteem, depression, and even suicide. It is clear that action must be taken to address this problem and protect the rights of children.

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HAKAM releases Report on Bullying in Malaysian Schools




Report on



 – 30 JANUARY 2018 –


Bullying in our schools has reached alarming proportions. The problem needs to be addressed urgently. Its consequences are serious – especially on young children and adolescents. It can scar a life and lead sometimes to even worst end-results – such as depression, mental health problems and even suicides. It is a grave human rights issue.

With this in mind, HAKAM undertook a study of the problem. It dealt with the following issues:

  • The prevalence of bullying in Malaysian schools;
  • The forms of bullying;
  • The responses to bullying by various stakeholders; and
  • The possible best means of tackling this problem.

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PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 2016/2017 — Ambiga Sreenevasan


Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – Pic by Choo Choy May

It has been 29 years since HAKAM was first formed to confront human rights abuses that were rampant and to uphold the rule of law.  Today, our struggle continues as we face a whole host of new challenges that require civil society to continue to be vocal on human rights issues.

On 8 December 2016, Malaysia was labelled one of the worst regional freedom of thought violators, alongside Indonesia and Brunei, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

Malaysia is ranked at 144 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

The 1MDB case continues to tarnish the reputation of Malaysia internationally, and there has been little done at home to address this global scandal and to bring those responsible to book.

Our fundamental freedoms are increasingly curtailed. The last year has seen more repressive laws come into force, our media under attack, and social media facing severe restrictions. Read more

Report on “Build and Develop Effective Engaging Content” Workshop — Alaleh Eghbali

(All photos courtesy of HAKAM)

Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy Through Effective Engaging Communication

NGOs and CSOs in the new world are continuously trying to engage audiences and spread their message across the public. It may seem that it is getting harder to reach people and get them involved in civil society missions, but it should be noted means of communication have changed; Social Media has changed the game. It has now become the main source of accessing and spreading news and content.


A large number of NGOs and CSOs in Malaysia still rely on the usual traditional methods of advocacy through press statements and forums. These medium have limited capacity to reach, and a limited opportunity of debate and discussions with audiences. In light of these circumstances, HAKAM has embarked on a social media training journey since 2016, with the first workshop “Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change”.  The success of the first workshop, and the positive feedback from the participants, lead to the organization of a second workshop in March 2017.

In the second workshop, facilitated by‘s Lau Chak Onn, members of NGOs and activist gathered to sharpen their skills of content development for social media, and learn how to send their message in the most interesting, informative, and concise way possible.  Read more

Report on on the “Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change” Workshop — Justine Chew

(all photos courtesy of HAKAM)

Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy through Effective Use of Social Media

“When we change to way we communicate, we change society.” — Clay Shirky

Social Media has over the past 10 years changed communication between individuals, organisations and nations. This ever evolving communication technology continues to transform the way people interact and even the way they think.  That is the reason, Social Media now occupies a vital portion of many successful corporations’ organizational and business strategies. Governments have also recognized the power of social media – to further their causes and goals, construct and deconstruct societies. Government and politics are changed, and some destroyed, through the use of social media.


In other parts of the world, civil society leaders and organizations have long teamed up with technology and social media experts to address community challenges through social media and this partnership had created new interesting solutions for those organisations to better serve their community.

However, Malaysian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have yet to leverage much on social media tools notwithstanding that (a) the tools are readily available, and (b) social media is a proven potent platform to shape conversations and influence opinions, facilitate speedier and more effective engagement and sharing of information.

“Old ways won’t open new doors.”

CSOs have in the past and still do rely on the usual traditional methods of advocacy through press statements and forum and town hall meetings. Traditional medium like these are limited in its capacity to reach and often offer very limited space or time for any discussion or conversation to take place between the speaker and the audience.

Under these circumstances, and seeing the limited success in advocacy campaigns by Malaysian CSOs in general, HAKAM developed and implemented a How to Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change in Malaysia Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 16-17 July 2016. HAKAM’s strategy for this capacity building workshop was to engage and partner with social media experts to train human rights activists, CSO representatives and volunteers  in harnessing the tools and potential of social media, covering areas of technology and content for effective advocacy. Read more

PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 2015/2016 – Ambiga Sreenevasan


PresidentIt has been 28 years since HAKAM’s inception. Since then, HAKAM has been committed to promoting, defending and preserving human rights. In a climate of corruption and abuse of power, the deterioration of human rights continues unabated. HAKAM’s work has thus become more critical.

In October last year, Human Rights Watch produced a report titled “Climate of Fear”. The report details all the measures being taken by the present regime to silence critics including the countless arrests and detentions under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 and of course the bizarre case of Zunar, a cartoonist facing 9 charges of sedition. We have had 206 investigations for sedition in 2015 alone. The government has indeed been effective in creating a climate of fear.

The last one year has been disastrous for human rights. We have seen the continuing introduction of repressive laws, threats to press freedom, environmental degradation, misuse of enforcement powers, last minute ‘secret’ executions, the suspension of The Edge, closure of The Malaysian Insider and the investigation, arrest and the unlawful detention of journalists including foreign journalists. Read more

Report on the “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia” Forum – Thulsi Manogaran


Police Accountability

Police Accountability


On 30 May 2015, the Malaysian Bar Council Task Force on the IPCMC and HAKAM jointly organised a forum entitled “Rogue Cops: Workable Solutions – Police Accountability in Malaysia”. The forum was held at the Raja Aziz Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur. HAKAM and the Malaysian Bar saw it fit to resuscitate the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Police. One of the major proposals made by the commission is for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Basic rights of the Malaysian people and foreigners have been trampled upon far too many times by the very people who are entrusted to care for our rights. This is not merely an allegation built on prejudice or bias against the police force. While society recognises that not all cops are rogue cops, this is not a trivial personalised battle. It has evolved into a systemic problem plaguing the entire force.

Even expert bodies have relented the same. The Human Rights Watch quoted in their report titled “No Answers, No Apologies” that “Human Rights Watch research found problems much more significant than mistakes or a few ineffectual officers. The serious rights abuses documented in this report point instead to structural problems that need to be addressed. Without rigorous investigation of alleged police abuse cases, those problems cannot be properly identified or tracked. Despite increasing public backlash, neither police leaders nor the civilian authorities who oversee their actions have made a genuine commitment to bringing about needed reform in police policy and practice. Read more

PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 2014/2015 – Ambiga Sreenevasan



HAKAM was pioneered, amongst others, by our own father of independence  Tunku Abdul Rahman, former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn and an  illustrious member of the Bar, Raja Aziz Addruse. What drove them to set up  HAKAM is set out in the declaration that was signed by them on 10 December  1988. It is worth reproducing a part of that declaration here.

“Whereas by Proclamation of Independence dated the 31st day of August,  1957 this  nation was proclaimed a sovereign democratic and independent  nation founded  upon the principle of liberty and justice ever seeking the  welfare and happiness of  its people and the maintenance of a just peace  among all nations.

“Whereas this nation, upon becoming a member of the United Nations Organisation, subscribed to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Whereas there has been a constant erosion of these principles.

“We hereby declare that there is a need to promote, preserve and defend these principles and hereby propose that there be established a national organization for that purpose.”

In the last one year, Malaysia has seen a continuing deterioration of human rights. We have amongst other things, seen the introduction of new and oppressive laws and continued abuse of powers. HAKAM is therefore as relevant today as it was when it was first established. This is a sad testament to the state of human rights here.

I would like to thank all members of the Executive Committee and members of HAKAM who have shown dedication and commitment in the last year towards enhancing our role as advocates of human rights issues. HAKAM has had a wonderful one year with several new initiatives and continuing programmes. Read more

Report on the “Human Rights and Religion – Are the two compatible?” Forum – Surendra Ananth




The forum entitled “Human Rights and Religion: Are the two Compatible?”, held on 23 May 2015 , could not have been organized at a more timely moment. At a time where extremism was insidiously sweeping in the Malaysian society and where the supreme law of our land was being challenged in various forefronts, intellectual discourse on such a topic was very much welcomed. The speakers consist of well-known academicians, Professor Emeritus Shad Faruqi (“Prof Shad”) and Dr. Dian Diana Abdul Hamed (“Dr Dian”). The two commentators who were invited to further enrich the discussion were Mr Phillip Koh and Dato’ Malik Imtiaz Sarwar. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Azmi Sharom. Read more