It’s a new Malaysia after four decades of struggle since Aliran was formed in 1977.
Over the years, more and more people came out to reclaim the basic rights that they have lost over the years. They woke up and demanded meaningful change: more democratic space, greater accountability, respect for human rights, electoral reforms, fairer just socio-economic policies and ecological protection.
Aliran has identified and struggled along 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 registered with the Registrar of Societies on 25 January 1977 and then launched on 12 August the same year, making us Malaysia’s oldest human rights group.
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. As the stirring cries of “Reformasi!” rang out for all to hear in the late 1990s, we redoubled our efforts.
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.
And today, after regime change, we have a new Malaysia. But our struggle continues.
Relationship with other groups
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 ‘s work centres on raising public awareness on important issues affecting Malaysians and promoting a more just society. We write and publish articles on our website, through social media and newsletters, and previously the Aliran Monthly print magazine.
We also act in coalitions with other civil society groups to campaign for democratic reforms. More recently, we have held a series of talks, young writers workshops and film screenings to reach out to younger Malaysians.
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.