A History of Student Activism in Malaysia

A public history research project

A History of Student Activism in Malaysia is a research project run by Imagined Malaysia, supported by Malaysia Reform Initiative (MARI), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur. The research project lasted for approximately four months, starting from late August until December 2020. This research project was conducted with two goals in mind: to probe the development of student activism in Malaysia from pre-Independence period, including the issues activists championed and how these changed or remained the same. We also aimed to probe and highlight the various narratives within student movements, and to propose a series of recommendations for various parties to further empower youth- and student-led initiatives in Malaysia. We conducted our research through literature reviews, surveys, and a series of focus group discussions and interviews. The research project is also Imagined Malaysia’s attempt to create opportunities for analytical historical research outside academia and institutions.

This research project will be an ongoing effort for Imagined Malaysia. Materials here will be updated periodically to feature new interviews, events, and improvements or developments to the research findings. We also wish to improve on the project’s accessibility, with a priority on making the website and our reports available in different languages, we encourage everyone to engage with the content we have curated and to use the resources provided on this site for further research. You may reach the team at studentactivism@imagined.my for feedback, ideas, and pitches regarding the topic.


This project was supported by MARI, USAID, and the U.S. Embassy KL. Imagined Malaysia would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who directly and indirectly played a role towards the success of this project, from our survey respondents, to participants of our focus group discussions and our interviewees.


Project Leadership & Advisory

  • Qaleeda Talib
  • Kalash Nanda Kumar 

Project Management

  • Zikri Rahman
  • Nabillah Hijazu


  • Siti Asdiah Masran  
  • Siti Munawirah Mustaffa
  • Jayme Teoh
  • Fikri Fisal

Content & Engagement

  • Foong Li-Mei
  • Husna Khaidil


  • Foong Li-Mei

Project Intern

  • Hanan Mas’od


  • Patrick Tang
Scroll to Top