90 Years of Defiance

What has changed?

Photos: Berita Harian/Pusat Sejarah Rakyat’s archive, INSAN Magazine, and Aliran

We explore the history of student activism in Malaysia and its progression alongside the nation’s development since the 1930s.

What is student activism to you?

While I recognise that I have a responsibility to study, activism is about translating what we've learned.
Anis Syafiqah, student activist​
What we do [reflects] our vision and our perspective on what we want this country to be.
Tharma Pillai, co-founder of Undi 18
Students can be independent, provided that they are allowed, encouraged, and trained to do so.
Dr Khong, a former student activist and academician
  • Student activists are NOT rebellious youths who do not believe in order and rules
  • Student activists are NOT mostly hot-blooded young men looking for a fight
  • Student activism are NOT just about campus politics and student welfare
  • Student activism CAN make a change
  • Student activists CAN collaborate and work together with the government

Discover the timeline

Follow the development of student activism in Malaysia since the 1930s

The 1930s - 1970s
The 1970s - 1990s
2000 - 2020

The End of an Era

Return of the Rallies

What does it take?

We talked to observers, student activists, and former student activists to understand what it takes to be in the activism space in Malaysia as students

Explore our research

Learn about our findings from our online survey, focus group discussions, and our policy recommendations to empower student activism
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