The The Challenges of Civil Society Organisations: NGO-isation of Resistance in Malaysia?
Numerous academic studies asserted the positive contribution of Malaysian civil society organisations in national policymaking and democratisation. Nonetheless, several issues have recently posed significant challenges to civil society organisations, including NGOs. These include, for instance, reported sexual harassment incidents and controversies of purported democratic aid or funding to the NGOs. Meanwhile, the phrase “uncivil society” and the relevant definition are ambiguously applied to the existing Malaysian NGOs, as past scholarly works solely concentrated on investigating civil society. The current study aims to explore the concept of “uncivil society” in Malaysia and its relevance to the NGO-isation of resistance. Specifically, this study reviews literature on the existing concepts of civil-uncivil society, the NGO-isation of resistance, and the development of CSOs and NGOs. This study revealed different experiences of individuals, who collaborated with four different NGO types, namely human rights, women, education, and the environment. Resultantly, three main concerns regarding “uncivil society” and NGO-isation of resistance are identified. The three identified concerns, namely undemocratic work culture, the NGO establishment motive, and ineffective resistance, could occur in Malaysia.