May 2020 Newsletter – Chair’s Message

Dear Members of Amnesty International Malaysia,


We hope you are all keeping safe and well. In the past month, I lost 4 family members and we could not gather and mourn for our loved ones in a familiar way. Many of us are experiencing challenges like job security, change in routine, new ways of studying and working, managing isolation, juggling family with work at home arrangements simultaneously, and our hearts go out to all of you. Do spare time to reach out to a friend or loved one as we traverse the unknown path ahead.

Attached here are some tips to cope with stress from Amnesty’s Well-being resources:

I also found this helpful guide from Amnesty Australia’s website which could be useful to you. Investing in yourself is investing in your activism! :


We regret to inform that Dr Sudeep Mohandas who was elected to the Board during the 2019 EGM for a 2-year term has tendered his resignation which was accepted by the Board on 6th May 2020 that took effect immediately. We thank Sudeep who contributed actively during his time with us.

The Board is looking to co-opt a Board Member with no voting powers and to serve in a limited capacity for the remaining months leading up to the AGM. Do send in your expression of interest to [email protected] with your CV.


Due to the restriction of gatherings during the movement control period, the Board has decided to postpone the AGM for now. The International Secretariat is aware that sections are facing challenges conducting their respective AGMs and are looking at developing approaches to address technical and other needs to conduct a remote/online AGM.


We are working on organising an online meet with the membership to share some updates on our end and to hear feedback from you. Details to follow in a separate email.


When the Movement Control Order was imposed, our team at the Secretariat pivoted to address human rights violations in the Covid-19 context as issues of crackdown on migrants and refugees, threat to freedom of press and lack of access to aid and basic necessities were abound. Read AIM’s Public Statements here:

While the Secretariat had to postpone, cancel or convert plans that were intended to take place in physical spaces, they have been working hard in ensuring that members are engaged online, creating various output to address public perception on controversial issues, participating in webinars and meetings with stakeholders, keeping abreast of the political situation and the impact that has on our campaigns and showing solidarity with other Malaysian human rights organisations. 

On a global scale, the International Board acknowledges that the Next Global Strategy cannot be discussed and voted on until sections are able to have an in-person meeting. Since an in-person Global Assembly is unlikely to happen this year, sections would continue to be guided by a Covid-19 response framework until the strategy is adopted.

A new survey will be circulated to sections with a revised strategy that would incorporate Covid-19, input gathered during the online regional meets and input from entities. More details on this as they become available.


The Board is working on a policy with the ED that would set in writing AIM’s sustainable practices. If you have a background in sustainability or would like to assist us, kindly email [email protected] for further information.


We are also working with the ED on a live document guided by directives from relevant authorities that would capture the new norm for our staff at the Secretariat, our members, volunteers, activists, supporters and stakeholders.


We are pleased to inform you that the Board is forming a Youth Sub-Committee under the leadership of the Board’s Youth Representative Asyraf who will be working closely with the Secretariat’s Activism Coordinator Li Yang. You may email Asyraf at [email protected] for more information.


Further, we are also in search of professionals in the finance, audit and risk management sectors to join our new sub-committee. We are drawing up the Terms of Reference which would be made available to you. You may email [email protected] for more information.


The previous committee that was working on the manual has since dissolved. We are looking for interested members to continue this work under Vickram Ragunath who previously chaired the Election Committee during the 2019 AGM and EGM. We are ideally looking for one youth member and one member who has had experience conducting elections. We are also looking to further capture procedures for an online election. Kindly write to [email protected] with your expression of interest.


We have closed applications, shortlisted candidates and will be conducting interviews in the coming month.


The Board and the Secretariat have been working together to streamline the membership approval process. You will now find new sign-ups happening more efficiently. Sign up a new member, renew your membership and access the membership’s Code of Conduct at The Board has also requested a periodical Membership Report from the Secretariat to understand the composition of our membership so that we are better equipped to address your interests and needs.


We’d like to thank the Secretariat for hosting the weekly Activist Catch-Up online. We hope to see more of our members join in so that you are updated with the work on the ground and can participate in some of the important campaigns we are working on. Meet other activists and members who are as passionate about human rights as you are. Together we are stronger!

I’d also like to thank my Board Members who have worked as a team in the hiring process, giving input to policies and internal processes, overseeing finances and always having the movement’s best interest at heart. It is an honour to serve alongside you.

In solidarity,
Kalainilaa Kalaiyarasu
Chair, Board of Governance 2019-2020
Amnesty International Malaysia