“The UK regularly highlights its firm commitment to freedom of speech and expression. I am concerned about the potential effect that the new Anti-Fake News Bill could have on freedom of expression in Malaysia, and about the fact that this Bill was passed without meaningful public consultation or debate. We are monitoring developments closely, working with EU and other foreign partners and stand ready to make any necessary representations.”
Shunned By The Commonwealth?
Field went on to reveal that Britain has now formally urged the Malaysian Government to accept external observers, something Najib Razak has doggedly refused to allow, despite persistent requests from the opposition parties and NGO campaigners, in particular the internationally respected clean election group, Bersih:“On my visit to Malaysia last week, I heard about concerns related to the electoral boundary changes introduced by the Election Commission. We will be monitoring their impact, and have discussed the importance of free and fair elections with the Malaysian government at the highest levels.”
”We continue to follow the political situation in Malaysia closely. During my visit to Kuala Lumpur last week, I heard about the recent changes to constituency boundaries and the passing of the Anti-Fake News Bill. I recognise that there are concerns related to both issues. The UK continues to stress the importance of free and fair elections and open and vibrant political debate. We have also encouraged Malaysia to invite external election observers, in advance of the 9 May election. [Answers FCO Mark Field 17th April]
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