Anwar says PM must do more on alleged meddling with press in Malaysia

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the prime minister’s response to allegations of interference with the local media should have been one that inspired confidence in the country.

Instead, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s remarks on the matter had been characteristic of his “say-little and do-even-less” style of leadership.

“It is the job of the prime minister to inspire confidence in Malaysia. This includes confidence in the professionalism of our law enforcement and investigation agencies and confidence that the freedom of the press will be protected.

“Without these pillars in order, confidence in our economy will wane and investors will continue to shun Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

Anwar then urged all Malaysians to condemn the criminal defamation charges against two editors of The Edge, and the abrupt change of the group editor of the New Straits Times following allegations of pressure from Umno leaders.

“Umno is launching an assault on the media just as Umno leaders facing potential convictions in their corruption cases twist the prime minister’s arm to call for an election in November,” he said.

Anwar claimed the Malay nationalist party was losing public support due to scandals such as the navy’s littoral combat ships as well as the government’s handling of the cost-of-living crisis in the country.

“Rather than deal with the scandals and problems, Umno predictably attacks the messenger,” he said.

On Wednesday, Ismail Sabri distanced his government from allegations of political interference in the media when asked to respond to allegations of political interference at the two news outlets.

The prime minister only reiterated that the press could report freely in Malaysia so long as this was done responsibly.