KUALA LUMPUR: US president Barack Obama met eight Malaysian civil society leaders here, including Bar Council president Steven Thiru, as well as Bersih's Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Maria Chin Abdullah, on the sidelines of the Asean summit Saturday.
Calling them "outstanding, courageous men and women," he said he had wanted to hear directly from them about the issues and challenges they face.
"I want to send a clear message that the United States stands behind the important work they are doing on a day-to-day basis," he said.
"I will continue to emphasise our beliefs that basic universal values like freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly are all things that will make countries stronger," he said.
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