Malaysia’s new prime minister urged the local media to criticise the government “without fear,” but stopped short of saying if he would remove the annual licensing system that shackles publications.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s speech appeared to be an attempt to allay concerns that he would unleash a crackdown on the media. The fear was raised after the government banned two opposition newspapers just days before he took power. However, Mr Najib overturned the ban hours after taking the oath of office.
To “build a democracy (that is) responsive to the needs of the people,” Malaysia needs a media that will “report what they see, without fear of consequence,” Mr Najib said.