Stories written by Baradan Kuppusamy

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: An Uphill Battle Against Abuse And Torture

Domestic helper Siti Hajar, 33, from Garut district, Indonesia is a picture of calm as she leans against the wall at a shelter for abused maids and dreams of returning to her village.

MALAYSIA: Blacklisted For Not Enforcing Trafficking Laws

After years of lobbying by rights activists and the international community, Malaysia passed an effective and comprehensive law in 2007 against human trafficking with provisions for protection, shelter and return of trafficked person to their home countries.

MALAYSIA: New Prime Minister Goes on Charm Offensive

Malaysia’s controversial Najib Razak, who became the country’s sixth prime minister on Apr. 3, has launched a charm offensive to win the hearts and minds of a people disillusioned by numerous scandals and political skullduggery.

POLITICS-MALAYSIA: New PM Must Overcome Credibility Deficit

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi steps down this month, forced out by powerful factions in the ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) that feared his liberal policies and compromising ways with political opponents who wish to dismantle rule by an entrenched elite.

MALAYSIA: Sleaze, Betrayals, Threats Mar Politics

Sex scandals, political betrayals, threats and anger at the once revered monarchy - suddenly politics in Malaysia, after a sterling start last year which saw a strong opposition in parliament, is taking an ominous turn.

Grieving relatives of custodial death victim, Kugan, waiting to claim his body.  Credit: Baradan Kuppusamy/IPS

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Custodial Death Revives Calls For Police Reforms

The death of a youth in police custody and the torture of another in a police lockup, in recent weeks, have shocked Malaysians and revived calls for an oversight body - proposed in 2006 by a royal commission but unimplemented because of opposition from senior officers in the command.

Tenaganita activists meet over plight of Burmese migrant labour. Credit: Baradan Kuppusamy/IPS

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Malaysian, Thai Officials Trafficking Burmese Migrants?

A scandalous trade in Burmese migrant labour involving Malaysian and Thai officials and international human traffickers is now coming to light.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia leader S. Arulchelvam leading protests against the war in Gaza.  Credit: Baradan Kuppusamy/IPS

MIDEAST: Malaysia Exercised Over Gaza

As an economically advanced country that seeks a key role in the Muslim world, it is perhaps natural that Malaysia and its people are exercised over Israel’s war in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

POLITICS-MALAYSIA: By-Election Test For Ruling Coalition

Prime Minister-designate Najib Razak, who succeeds Abdullah Badawi in March, faces a by-election that will test whether voters, especially majority Malays, still support the 13-party coalition government which suffered massive setbacks in general elections last year.

HEALTH-MALAYSIA: Divided Over HIV Testing

A raging debate over mandatory HIV screening has exposed fear and ignorance within government, despite years of awareness campaigns to eradicate prejudice against people living with the virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

POLITICS-MALAYSIA: Badawi’s ‘Toothless Bills’ Harm Reform Agenda – Critics

By tabling two of three reform bills, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has shown his hand and, not surprisingly, both have run into strong opposition within and outside parliament.

Irene Fernandez Credit: Baradan Kuppusamy/IPS

MALAYSIA: Rights Champion Seeks Political Career

After winning a gruelling 13-year court battle to avoid being jailed on charges of maliciously publishing false news, Malaysia's best-known human rights champion seeks a political career to continue defending migrant workers and other vulnerable sections of society.

SINGAPORE: Leading Rights Lawyer Faces Jail Term

Singapore’s embattled human rights lawyer and leading anti-death penalty campaigner, Ravi Madasamy, intends to defend his reputation "all the way" to the highest courts after being released on bail for allegedly causing a disturbance at a mosque.

POLITICS-MALAYSIA: Alarm at Move to Regulate Media

A government proposal to set up a media council to ‘regulate’ news reporting has alarmed journalists who see it as an attempt to add yet another layer of control over their profession.

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Judiciary Shows Signs of Independence

A landmark court decision to release a prominent critic, jailed without trial, is being hailed as a sign that Malaysia’s battered judiciary is no longer willing to serve as a tool of the government.

LABOUR-MALAYSIA: Recession to Hit Migrant Workers Hard

As recession looms large on the horizon, migrant workers like 27-year-old Kumar Palanisamy from Chennai in India are the first on the chopping block.

MALAYSIA: Moving Away From Race-Based Politics

Ever since voters rose to give the ruling, race-based Barisan Nasional (National Alliance) coalition government its biggest ever drubbing in March the search has been on for a new political formula for a country deeply divided over race and religion.

POLITICS-MALAYSIA: Mahathir May Return to Centre Stage

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s planned stepping down in March 2009 may well see a return to the authoritarian rule familiar to Malaysians during the 22-year iron rule of his predecessor Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

MALAYSIA: Emerging Trend in Trafficking Tribal Women

An emerging trend in the trafficking of tribal people, mostly young girls, is raising concern among government officials, rights organisations, migration experts and human rights lawyers.

A candlelight rally against the ISA. Credit: Baradan Kuppusamy/IPS

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Protests Mount Against Draconian Anti-Terror Law

Public opposition is steadily building up against Malaysia’s draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), a relic of colonialism that gives police unchallenged discretion to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone without trial.

MALAYSIA: Race Relations Act Will Change Little – Critics

After 50 years of trying to build a plural society Malaysia now plans to enact a race relations law to end discrimination and protect minorities. But critics say a new law will change little.

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