KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — US President Barack Obama today expressed support for the efforts by civil society groups here, when he met leaders from several Malaysian organisations at the US embassy today.
In the rare meeting that included Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, Negaraku patron Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, C4 director Cynthia Gabriel, and Nisha Ayub from the Justice for Sisters group, among others, Obama described Malaysia as a country with diverse faiths and cultures that will benefit from allowing a multitude of voices to be heard.
“Many of you civil society groups are concerned about any constrictions on civil liberties and civil rights, and also in expanding the boundaries of civil society so that people here in Malaysia and around the region are able to have their voices heard.
“We very much appreciate the work that they do. One of the reasons I want to meet with them is to send a clear message that the US stands behind the important work that they are doing on a day-to-day basis,” he said in opening statements at the meeting.
Obama stated that the US firmly believed that having a strong civil society was necessary to achieve more accountable governance, and that it was his country’s policy to meet leaders of such groups during his trips abroad.
He also described Malaysia as make remarkable advances in the areas of freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly, among others. Read more