Anwar: Indonesian Media Free to Criticises President, Our Media Praised by Najib as Being the Best in the World

PUCHONG, 5 Jan: The freedom of press in Indonesia has far left Malaysia behind with more transparent and honest reporting about the government’s policies compared to the local media in this country which is controlled by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said that this matter has previously been voiced by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) to him when he made a visit to meet with the President of the republic.

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“I once sat with President SBY in a conference, and it so happened that that day, the front page of Indonesian media reported positive things about me and on the front of the page too attacked him because the Century bank scandal.

“He said to me; Anwar, look at the media, ohh I’m so tired. I have been attacked till the end, but you have been praised by all.

“He is the President, he complained about media criticism, but he cannot do anything. Here, (it is reported that) the Prime Minister is the best in the world,” said Anwar.

He said this when he gave a talk at the People’s Independence Course which was held at the Centre for Democratic Reform and Social Initiative today.

Anwar said that the freedom of press in Indonesia is part of the successful outcome of the people in the country in making reforms which led to the overthrow of the government when it was led by President Soeharto in 1998.

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He added that the reformation in Indonesia successfully strengthened vital institutions in the country compared to when it was previously tainted by corruption, including the abuse of power by its leaders.

“Indonesia’s strength is in its institutional strength after the reform. Ministers went to prison, the Governor of the Central Bank went to prison, the Chief of Corruption Prevention went to prison, the number one Constitutional Court Chief also went to prison because of corruption. Imagine the strength of their institution today.

However, Anwar added that this is different with the state of the important government institutions which try to manipulate cases involving the government’s interests.

“It is different here. Tun Ling Liong Sik was charged before the election, but after the election, he was released. Of course we expected it,” he added.

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