Anwar told to stop hiding behind royals as Bloomberg’s casino report remains

The prime minister is reminded that the report was published by a reputable news outlet, similar to how the 1MDB scandal was exposed.

(MalaysiaNow) – A lawyers group has expressed shock at Anwar Ibrahim’s threat of jail against anyone commenting on a recent revelation by Bloomberg that the government was considering a second casino in Johor, questioning what it called a pattern of invoking the royal institution to justify the use of draconian laws against critics.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), which has repeatedly condemned the arrests of government critics, said Anwar had tried to justify the action during a speech to civil servants yesterday by saying it was to safeguard the royal institution, when the criticism was directed against his own alleged involvement in the casino talks.

“The PM cannot hide behind the royal institution in order to shut down public criticism or comment against himself,” said LFL director Zaid Malek.

“We also note that there is now a pattern of conduct where the PM invokes the royal institution as an excuse to wield oppressive laws such as the Sedition Act. This backdoor way of justifying the denial of freedom of speech and the use of oppressive laws must stop.”

Zaid also said that Anwar was going after the wrong parties in clearing his name.

“Anwar or the government have taken no steps to ask for the casino story to be retracted or to take any form of legal action against Bloomberg or other news sites regarding the claims, and the news remains available for anyone to access to online,” he said.

“Having chosen not to do this, why instead target the Malaysian public who comment on the news or express concern or criticism in relation to it?”

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