Public Service & Law

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan

Dr Ambiga Sreenevasan is a prominent lawyer and human-rights advocate known for her advocacy work of national and human-rights interests


Dato’ Dr Ambiga Sreenevasan is a lawyer and human-rights advocate who is known for advocating for judicial reform, clean and fair elections, women’s rights and religious freedom. She was only the second woman to be elected as president of the Malaysian Bar Council and one of eight recipients of the 2009 US International Women of Courage Award.

After graduating with a law degree from the UK’s University of Exeter and being called to the bar at Gray’s Inn, London, Dr Sreenevasan worked at a couple of London firms before returning home, where was admitted to the Malaysian bar.

She first gained prominence while helming the Malaysian Bar Council, when she organised the “March for Justice”, where thousands of lawyers walked from the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya to the Prime Minister’s office, calling for judicial reforms and inquiries which led to the set-up of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

In 2011, Sreenevasan once again organised a peaceful street protest as the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, which drew tens of thousands of Malaysians to the streets in the country and other parts of the world, demanding free and fair elections.

Also known for her advocacy work on behalf of women’s rights and religious freedom, she successfully fought to amend the Federal Constitution to ensure that women’s testimony carried equal weight to men’s in the Sharia courts.

Sreenevasan is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Aid Organisation and remains an outspoken critic on issues on human rights and injustice. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by her alma mater, the University of Exeter, and is also a recipient of France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur award.

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Dr Sreenevasan’s father was one of the country’s pioneer urologists, and was one of the driving forces behind the Institute of Urology and Nephrology at General Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. 

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