Malaysia Government and Media Profile

Malaysia Political Orientation

Malaysia - Government and Media - LEft Center Bias - NationalismMalaysia - Government and Media Country Profile


Government Type: Parliamentary democracy with a federal constitutional monarch
Head of the state: King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah
Leader: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim
Political Party: Coalition Pakatan Harapan
Political Position: Center-Left

Press Freedom

MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 57.92 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank:
Malaysia 73/180

In 2023, Reporters Without Borders ranked Malaysia 73/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating, “For the media, the restoration of more authoritarian rule in 2020 has led to prosecutions, police searches, and expulsions.”

In 2018, former prime minister Najib Razak’s government passed The Anti-Fake News Act, which aimed to tackle “fake news.” On the other hand, critics claimed it was “designed to stifle dissent.

In 2019, the Anti-Fake News Act bill was repealed by the lower house of Malaysia’s Parliament, and the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill was passed. Reuters reported that Human Rights Watch had welcomed this progress. However, Reporter Without Borders cautions that despite the media environment’s improvement after the defeat of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, still “archaic laws still endure.” As a result of these old laws, self-censorship is still widespread in Malaysia.

Media Ownership and Government Analysis

The Media of Malaysia, such as broadcast media, print media, and the Internet, is controlled by the Malaysian government. Media outlets are either directly owned by the government or by the political parties through complex investments.

For example, Media Prima, which operates many television stations under Media Prima Television Networks, print publications such as New Straits Times, and several radio stations, is a publicly listed media company linked to Umno in 2019. Umno sold the stake to Syed Mokhtar, making him the third-largest shareholder. Syed Mokhtar is a businessman known as Dr. Mahathir’s man (Dr. Mahathir is the former Prime Minister of Malaysia.) 

In conclusion, the Malaysian Government has direct and indirect control and influence over the media outlets since most of them are owned and financed through the government and political parties through a complex web of companies and investments.

Country Rating Methodology

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check

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