By SITYAN RASIBARENAP via Reuters A Malaysian news channel has pulled an anchor from an article that claimed the country’s prime minister had signed a $10bn deal to pay for a US air defence system.
The Malay-language channel, Kuaan Kitaan, said on Tuesday it would remove reporter Mohd Dutheerah Mohamed from a report about the deal, which was written by journalist Jeroen van Deynhoven, the channel said in a statement.
It said it would also remove a Malaysian journalist who had been working on the report and had been quoted in the report.
It was unclear when the station would remove the reporter, but the channel did not identify him or his sources.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach Mohamed or Van Deynhopven.
The report by Van Deyhoven quoted a source close to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, who said Malaysia was negotiating to buy US-made Air Defence Identification Systems (ADIS) from the US.
The report said Malaysia had asked the US to pay $5bn to buy the missiles and that Malaysia was now discussing the deal with the US government.
But it said the deal had been delayed, and it did not say when the delay was.
Malaysia has been in talks with Washington over the sale of the missiles.
Malay media and rights groups have repeatedly criticised the report, which they say is biased against Malaysia, saying the deal was done without a public vote or parliamentary review.
Last year, the Malaysian government said it had rejected an offer from the United States to buy 50 of the ADIS.
Malaysia has a population of about 10 million and is a close US ally.
In July, Malaysia rejected a $15bn package from the Chinese state-owned conglomerate Huawei.
In May, a US company accused Malaysia of selling advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia and other countries, including Iran, in violation of US law.
Maloyan President Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that he would “continue to work to improve Malaysia’s foreign policy”.