Obama delivers backhanded slap to US in Malaysia; backbone missing again

President Obama was critical of Malaysia’s human rights record during a news conference Sunday with the country’s prime minister, but he did admit that the United States could make improvements, too.

Prime Minister Najib Razak touted Malaysia’s transformation to a modern country, but activists say political dissent and freedom of expression are still repressed, according to The Washington Post.

“Today, Mr. President, you see not rubber trees, as Lyndon B. Johnson did, but soaring skyscrapers. They are a testament to the transformation that is taking place here in Malaysia,” Najib said, according to the Post. “We are a modern, progressive Muslim majority nation, a multiethnic, multi-religious society.”

Obama was quick to point out that Malayasia “had work to do,” before taking a swipe at the United States’ human rights record.

“I think the prime minister is the first to acknowledge that Malaysia still has got some work to do, just like the United States, by the way, has some work to do on these issues,” Obama said. “Human Rights Watch probably has a list of things they think we should be doing as a government. And, you know, I am going to be constantly committed to making sure that these issues get raised in a constructive way.”

Watch Obama’s comments here via Real Clear Politics:


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