IBTimes UK

Malaysian authorities have detained two Australian journalists from the ABC Four Corners programme after they questioned Prime Minister Najib Razak on corruption allegations.

Journalist Linton Besser and camera operator Louie Eroglu were later released without charge, but Australia said it was deeply concern over the development.

The journalists have been ordered not to leave the country, Australian media reported.

Malaysian police said the two were arrested after they crossed a "security line and aggressively tried to approach the prime minister," Bernama news agency reported.

"Both of them were subsequently arrested for failing to comply with police instructions not to cross the security line," a police statement said.

Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop said she will raise the issue "at the appropriate level within the Malaysian government."

"I'm always concerned where there are instances of a crackdown on freedom of speech in democracies particularly and I'm also concerned about the freedom that journalists have to carry out their work in places around the world, so these are matters that we raise with governments from time to time and we certainly will with Malaysia," she added.

Najib is facing off a hailstorm of criticism and political dissent within the county following allegations of corruption in state fund 1 Malaysia Berhard.

Malaysia's Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib of wrongdoing, saying $681m deposited in the prime minister's bank account was entirely legal "personal donation" from the Saudi royal family.

However, it was reported later that more than $1 billion was deposited into Najib's account between 2011 and 2013.

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned from the party calling for Najib's resignation.

Sally Neighbour, the programme's executive producer, denied allegations that the crew crossed limits. She said they were "doing what journalists do in countries with a free press".

"There was no breach. In a democracy, journalists asking the PM questions is routine," she tweeted.

IBTimes UK