Malaysia: Solidarity with Kean Wong

Malaysia: Solidarity with Kean Wong - Media

Illustration by Zunar Cartoonist

ARTICLE 19 and 52 undersigned partners in civil society stand in solidarity with Kean Wong, editor of “Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, And Hope in New Malaysia” as he undergoes investigation under the Sedition Act 1948, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

This book was banned on 1 July 2020 under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) Order 2020 as the government deemed it potentially prejudicial to public order, security, and national interest. This case was further investigated in 2020 under the Emblems and Names (Preventing Unlawful Use) (Amendment) Act 2016, Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948, Section 8 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

On 16 October 2023, Kean Wong was detained at the Kelana Jaya Immigration Department while applying for passport renewal and he was taken into police custody at Dang Wangi police station. As of 17 October 2023, the Magistrate has issued a further 24-hour remand order.

Kean Wong’s arrest, after 3 years from the time the book was banned, demonstrates the State’s concerted effort to suppress the public’s ability to both inform and to speak out without fear of censorship.

We urge the authorities to cease all investigations with immediate effect and demonstrate their commitment to upholding the rights bestowed upon the people by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act are archaic legislations with broad provisions, often arbitrarily used as a weapon to silence any critic. We remind the government of its early promise to repeal the Sedition Act, and the Printing Presses and Publications Act, as well as call for the immediate repeal of both the Acts and all other legislations, including Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, that restrict the freedom of expression. In the interim, we request that a moratorium be imposed, pending repeal or amendment of such legislations.

We ask all interested parties to support the protection of the inherent right of all to freedom of expression, by standing in solidarity with us against the violation of Kean Wong’s right to speak out.



  1. Centre for Independent Journalism
  2. SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
  3. Malaysia Design Archive
  4. Association of Women Lawyers
  5. Amnesty International Malaysia
  6. Justice for Sisters
  7. Deaf Advocacy and Well-being National Organisation, Malaysia
  8. Aliran
  9. ARTICLE 19
  10. North South Initiative
  11. GERAK (Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia)
  12. Persatuan Penulis Berbilang Bahasa (PEN Malaysia)
  14. Tenaganita
  16. KOMAS
  17. Parti Sosialis Malaysia
  18. Beyond Borders
  19. Freedom Film Network
  20. Sisters In Islam



  1. Danesh Prakash Chacko
  2. Yong Li Zen
  3. Sheryll Stothard
  4. Debbie Stothard
  5. Chen May Yee
  6. Sharaad Kuttan
  7. Subatra Jayaraj
  8. Wong Chin Huat
  9. William Mangor
  10. Siti Kasim
  11. Anthony Choy
  12. Kee Thuan Chye
  13. Zaharom Nain
  14. James Chin
  15. Anil Netto
  16. Nadira Ilana
  17. Sumit Mandal
  18. Pauline Leong
  19. Masjaliza Hamzah
  20. Zikri Rahman
  21. Jeremy Lim
  22. Ivy N Josiah
  23. Zainah Anwar
  24. Marina Mahathir
  25. Rusaslina Idrus
  26. Thomas Fann
  27. Rahayu Mumazaini
  28. Andrew Khoo
  29. Beverly Joema
  30. Syahid Abdullah
  31. Khoo Gaik Cheng
  32. Jac sm Kee
  33. Sonia Randhawa

Read the joint statement here

For more information

Nalini Elumalai, Senior Malaysia Programme Officer [email protected]