Kua Kia Soong

Kua Kia Soong was a director of SUARAM, 1989-2021. He was arrested under the Internal Security Act during “Operation Lalang” in 1987 and detained for 445 days without trial. Upon his release in 1989, he helped to found SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia), the leading human rights organisation in Malaysia today.

Together with other civil rights activists, he joined the Opposition Front in 1990 and was elected Opposition Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya from 1990 to 1995. He was prisoner of conscience for a second time in 1996 when he spent seven days in prison with other activists for organizing the Second Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor which was disrupted by a mob from the ruling coalition.

He was the Principal of the New Era College, a non-profit tertiary-level institution run by the Chinese education movement (2000-2008); Director of the Malaysian Chinese Research Centre (1985-90); Academic Adviser to the Malaysian Chinese Education Movement (1983-85) and lecturer in Sociology at the National University of Singapore in 1978-79. Kia Soong received his BA in economics (1975), MA in economics (1976) and PhD in Sociology with a Needham Scholarship (1981) from Manchester University, United Kingdom.