"At the same time, it's sad. There were other people from Egypt, Zimbabwe, a Filipino who were nominated for their struggle to change the system.
"What does this say about our country? The world now sees us on par with Zimbabwe and Egypt," Imtiaz highlighted, adding that it was "not a great honour" for Malaysia to be associated with the democratically resistant countries like Zimbabwe and Egypt.
He hopes the government will not treat his award as an excuse "to block views" but to allow more room for dissenting views to be heard as befits a democracy.