Malaysia drops charges against arrested Australian reporters

The reporters were arrested after they questioned embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak on corruption allegations.

Malaysia has dropped charges against Australian journalists who were arrested for trying to question Prime Minister Najib Razak about corruption allegations.

Journalist Linton Besser and cameraman Louie Eroglu of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will be deported from the country, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said in a statement.

"On 15/3/16, the police received instructions from the DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor) that no charges will be filed against the two. Instead, they will be deported from the country in pursuant with Section 8 (3) (h) of the Immigration Act 1959/63," the statement said.

Earlier, Malaysian authorities had freed on bail the reporters from ABC Four Corners programme.

They were arrested after they questioned embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak on corruption allegations. Malaysian police said the two were arrested after they crossed a "security line and aggressively tried to approach the prime minister."

Australia had raised serious concerns over the incident and said it will raise the issue "at the appropriate level within the Malaysian government."

Knee-jerk reaction

The Human Rights watch had also heavily criticised the Malaysian decision to arrest the reporters.

It said the move was a "knee-jerk" reaction that demonstrated "the incredible lengths that the authorities are prepared to go to protect Prime Minister Najib from any sort of hard questions about his actions."

"It's shameful that the Malaysia government is apparently willing to shred the country's already diminished reputation as a rights-respecting democracy to shield one man from serious allegations of malfeasance," an HRW statement said.

Prime Minister 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. The opposition move received a boost when jailed leader Anwar Ibrahim and other prominent Malaysians joined the chorus to oust Najib.