PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad calls on the Attorney General to withdraw the criminal defamation charges against the former editor-in-chief of The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd.
The former prime minister said the aggrieved persons or companies should have sued Ahmad Azam Mohd Aris and the publication for defamation over the published news.
Dr Mahathir said having an editor charged and handcuffed as a common criminal was intimidating and a setback to efforts in promoting press freedom which the Pakatan Harapan government had committed to during its 22 months in power.
"Such action only serves to further erode our freedom of the press ratings, which had taken a major dip in the past two years.
"What makes it worse is that the handcuffing of an editor sends a very wrong signal with regard to our justice system and rule of law when other high-profile criminals, who have been convicted, can walk around freely without handcuffs and even possibly attend parliamentary sessions.
"The principle of justice and fairness should apply equally," he said.
Recently, Ahmad Azam was charged with criminal defamation over two news reports on the abnormal surge in penny stocks in 2020 and 2021.