JICA Research Institute

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Working Papers

No.134 Perceptions and Practice of Human Security in Malaysia

This paper discusses the understanding of human security in Malaysia. As the country prepares to achieve its vision of becoming a developed nation by 2020, exposure to the forces of globalization and integration into the international economy and the ASEAN community have on the one hand improved the economic standing of the country and its people while on the other hand exposed Malaysian society to a range of downside risks or threats that could undermine the past achievements of programs for human development. The paper covers three main areas. Firstly, we deliberate on the notion of human security from international and regional standpoints before explaining differential interpretations and understandings of the term at national and local levels. Secondly, we examine the multiple issues and threats viewed as imperative by various stakeholders. Thirdly, we identify some of the approaches taken in mitigating human insecurities and discuss the lack of measures in further improving the level of human security in the country. The term human security remains lodged at the periphery, and propelling it to the center will require a higher awareness level of its significance. Greater commitment from all stakeholders-particularly the government-is indispensable in order to prioritize policies that actually empower individuals and communities not only to free themselves of their insecurities but more importantly to enable them to live their lives in dignity.

Keywords: human security, human rights, Malaysia, civil society organizations, comprehensive security

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