This article traces the progress of women’s rights in Malaysia by reference to law reforms between 2017 and 2022, from the position of a civil society organisation (CSO) advocating for those reforms and using a gender-focused lens. It appears women’s rights that were strengthened during this period benefitted from the larger social context, which created windows of opportunity that, through state and non-state actor synergy, enabled reform. This synergy involved the use of a range of tactics to enable negotiations on gender policy between key actors, including contextualizing feminist ideations to local needs. However, upon closer inspection, we argue that the law reforms achieved were ones the state views as congruous with its wider identity-making project for citizens. Consequently, issues at odds with entrenched values imposed on citizens by dominant state narratives become difficult to reconcile, resulting in roadblocks and stalled progress. Finally, this article reimagines the top-down identity-making approach through the lens of transformative justice.
"Negotiating Ideations: The Role of State-led Identity-Making in the Progress of Women’s Rights in Malaysia"
Anis Farid et al, Australian Journal of Asian Law, 2022, Vol 23 No 2, Article 2: 9-26