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Press freedom index drop ‘doesn’t matter’ as criticisms of govt allowed, says Anwar
Published on: Monday, May 20, 2024
By: FMT
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Press freedom index drop ‘doesn’t matter’ as criticisms of govt allowed, says Anwar
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said there were boundaries when it came to media freedom, particularly when it concerned sensitive topics touching on race, religion and royalty. (Facebook pic)
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim stated it was irrelevant that Malaysia had seen a drop in the press freedom index, saying it was more important that his government was open to criticism.

“It doesn’t matter whether we are being downgraded. What is important is that criticisms are allowed,” Bernama quoted Anwar as saying.

He was asked to comment on Malaysia’s standing in the World Press Freedom Index, which declined by 34 places to 107th compared to 73rd last year.

Anwar said his administration had not had any journalists arrested or newspapers banned in the country for their criticism of the government.

However, he said there were boundaries when it came to media freedom, particularly when it came to sensitive topics concerning race, religion and royalty, better known as the 3R issues.

Anwar said such issues could incite riots.

“We cannot afford to have that in our country.”

On criticisms over the perceived slow pace of reforms, Anwar said Eastern Europe had also had similar experiences in the past, with some nations being “gung-ho” about implementing reforms expeditiously but this resulted in a disaster to the economy and the political set-up.

Anwar said contrary to the opposition’s aspersions, governance was most important.

“We have been successful in checking the abuse (of power) by leaders and the Cabinet members from squandering wealth through direct negotiations, through billions of dollars of tender … we have stopped that.”

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