Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan has earned a coveted spot on Forbes’ 50 Over 50: Asia 2024 list. As a leader devoted to justice, she stands as a beacon of liberty and human rights in Malaysia. Her exceptional journey as a prominent Malaysian lawyer and human rights advocate is marked by her unwavering dedication, significant achievements, and international recognition. Her recent inclusion in Forbes’ prestigious list adds another milestone to her illustrious career. Dato’ Ambiga’s legacy is one that is filled with not only national but several international accolades and recognitions.
Dato’ Ambiga’s leadership in the legal sphere became evident during her tenure as the President of the Malaysian Bar Council from 2007 to 2009. She had played a pivotal role in establishing a panel of eminent persons with the collaborative efforts of prominent organisations such as LAWASIA (Law Association for Asia and the Pacific), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and Transparency International Malaysia. This panel addressed the judicial crisis of 1988, producing a groundbreaking report that set a historical transformation for organisations independently investigating misuse of power.
In 2009, Dato’ Ambiga’s advocacy for human rights reached new heights when she became one of the eight recipients of the US International Women of Courage Award. This prestigious accolade underscored her fearlessness in championing the cause of justice, equality, and human rights, not only in Malaysia but on the global stage.
Dato’ Ambiga’s influence extends to her role as director of the Securities Industry Dispute Resolution Centre. In this capacity, she addresses critical issues related to the rule of law, the judiciary, the administration of justice, legal aid, religious conversion, and various humanitarian issues. Her involvement in preparing and presenting papers and memoranda on these crucial matters reflects her democratic approach to advancing justice and human rights.
Her impact also goes beyond the border of legal and human rights advocacy. Dato’ Ambiga had played a vital role in being one of the leading voices behind Bersih 2.0, a non-governmental organization coalition advocating for free and fair elections. Her dedication to democratic processes and transparent elections has left a historic mark on Malaysia’s political landscape.
Her glory continues on, as even in 2023, Dato’ Ambiga’s tireless efforts were further recognised as she received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honour and the Gandhi Memorial Trust Public Service Award. These prestigious awards serve as a testament to her exemplary service and dedication to the betterment of society.
Dato’ Ambiga stands as a beacon of liberalism; a woman of unwavering and resilient spirit who struggles for the liberal justice and equality of individuals who have been marginalised by the state. Her advocacy work can never be understated, for it has significantly altered the political landscape of Malaysia. Her legacy is one that has become an immense source of study for future generations, invoking in them a moral duty towards humanity. This valiant woman will forever be remembered as a leading inspiration for all those who believe in liberty and dream of wanting a just world.