Human Rights Watch has appealed to new Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to end what it called government abuses such as mistreatment of migrants and detention without trial.
The New York-based group said in a statement received Tuesday that it had urged Najib in a letter "to reverse the abusive policies of the past."
"It's time the Malaysian government delivered on promises to show 'regard for the fundamental rights of the people of Malaysia,' so that it is more than just a pretty sound bite," the group's deputy Asia director Elaine Pearson said.
"It's deplorable that Malaysians continue to face arbitrary detention, censorship and threats to their lives from unaccountable police," she said.
Najib took over as premier from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi early this month. He faces a host of problems, including a sagging economy and racial tensions. Abdullah stepped down following poor election results last year for his ruling National Front coalition.