KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today asserted that saving the country and protecting the rights of the people is more important than getting high marks for international recognition.

In this context, Anwar said he does not mind Malaysia being downgraded in the World Press Freedom Index 2024 report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recently, as the country was tough against racists and religious bigotry.

“I don’t mind; it does not matter if you are downgraded because we are tough against the racists and religious bigots because to my mind to save this country, to protect the rights of the majority and the rights of minorities is more important than to get high marks on international recognition.

“If you allow racism or fascism or religious bigotry to flourish, then you must anticipate the possibility of religious disharmony,“ he said when officiating at the National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA) 2024 celebration here today.

The World Press Freedom Index 2024 report showed Malaysia's position in the index dropping 34 places to 107th compared to 73rd last year, with a score of 52.07 points.