Malaysia protests to BBC after Anwar coverage
By Jalil Hamid and Clarence Fernandez
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) April 25 - Malaysia has complained to the BBC for giving air time to failed opposition leaders, state news agency Bernama said on Wednesday, in an apparent reference to former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.
"It would be appropriate if the air time was given to the opposition political parties that had a place in politics in Malaysia, but why focus on people who have been rejected?" Bernama quoted Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin as saying.
"What is the objective of the BBC in doing so?" Zainuddin, a former journalist, told reporters when asked about a recent working visit to London, where he had lodged a protest with BBC World Service editors.
Bernama added: "He (Zainuddin) said the BBC move did not help to enhance relations between Britain and Malaysia and did not accord respect to the democratic decision of the Malaysian people in their rejection of the opposition political parties."
Zainuddin did not name Anwar, but an aide to the opposition figure, who is attempting a political comeback after his release from jail in 2004, said the minister was clearly targeting him.
"Of course he's referring to Anwar. Anwar is much sought after by the BBC," the aide said, adding that Anwar had recorded an interview with the BBC in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.