Malaysia is at a cross-roads today. Something is stirring in the psyche of the people.

They are starting to come out and reclaim the basic rights that they have lost over the years. They are now waking up and demanding meaningful change: more democratic space, greater accountability, respect for human rights, electoral reforms, fairer just socio-economic policies and ecological protection.

Aliran identifies with this natural quest for justice in all aspects of public life.

Indeed, that has been the core of our struggle since the society was established on 25 January 1977, making us Malaysia’s oldest human rights group. Aliran is listed on the Roster (A1) Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 1987.

Aliran Kesedaran Negara (National Consciousness Movement) is Malaysia’s first multi-ethnic reform movement dedicated to justice, freedom and solidarity. (What the name Aliran means.) Listed on the Roster of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (A1 – Roster Consultative Status) since 1987, Aliran has a consistent record of championing democratic reforms. (Why Aliran?)

Bersih co-chair Pak Samad and steering committee members Subramaniam Pillay and Toh Kin Woon addressed an Aliran high tea in Penang on 29 April, a day after Bersih 3. All photos (c) 2012 Lye Tuck-Po

Position in Malaysian society

Aliran is the first movement of its kind in the history of our country. We are multi-ethnic in our philosophy, policies, programmes and membership – unlike most movements in the past, which were confined to one community or another.

We have a holistic, comprehensive concept of change which is not bound to any particular time frame. Most movements so far have been concerned with specific issues for short periods of time. (Aliran’s first 25 years)

Besides, Aliran’s struggle for social justice is guided by a universal spiritual world-view which makes it different from other groups whose foundation is either strictly secular or religious in a sectarian sense.

Most of all, Aliran is not involved in electoral competition for power and position. In this way, we hope to preserve and protect our role as a social educator dedicated to the evolution of a new social order.

Guided by universal spiritual values, our struggle focuses on building genuine unity by upholding human dignity and promoting social justice for all Malaysians.

Since 1977, we have been planting the seeds of public awareness of critical political, economic and social issues. Over the years, we have lobbied hard for wide-ranging reforms in all aspects of public life. Today, the stirring cries of “Reformasi!” ring out for all to hear.

In 1997, we launched our website and by 2015, after the Monthly ceased publication the previous year after a run of over three decades, we went fully digital, focusing on reaching out to even more Malaysians via this website, social media and e-newsletters.

Relationship with other groups

At the gates of the dreaded Kamunting Detention Camp near Taiping: Aliran joined forces with 35 other Malaysian NGOs to call for the immediate repeal of the harsh Internal Security Act, which permits indefinite detention without trial Aliran is an independent, autonomous movement. We are not linked to any political party, trade union, community organisations or civic association. Aliran, however, believes in actively co-operating with other groups on particular issues with specific objectives in mind.

Aliran also belongs to these networks:

  • Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) (now dormant)
  • Abolish Sedition Act Movement (GHAH)
  • Charter 2000: A Malaysian Citizens’ Media Initiative (now dormant)
  • Coalition Against Health Care Privatisation
  • Coalition Against Water Privatisation (now dormant)
  • Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0)
  • Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit)
  • Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)


Aliran work centres on raising public awareness on important issues affecting Malaysians and promoting the quest for a more just soceity. We disseminate our idiea via this website, social media tools, our print publication Aliran Monthly, media releases and e-newsletters.

Occasionally, we organise talks for the public or send our officials as speakers or participants to forums organised by other groups. We also serve as a co-ordinating body or secretariat for appeals and campaigns on specific social and human rights issues. More recently, we held a series of Young Writers Workshops to encourage younger Malaysians to express themselves on critical national issues.

Penang Bersih 3.0 Rally from tp Lye on Vimeo.

Aliran is an important source of independent information on Malaysia for political analysts, academics and others interested in what is really happening in the country.

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