Malaysian P.M. says no action against paper that published cartoon

No action will be taken against the New Straits Times, a leading pro-government daily, since it has apologized for publishing a cartoon about the controversy over Prophet Muhammad's caricatures, the prime minister said Friday.

The New Straits Times provoked some Muslims groups in Malaysia by publishing the Non Sequitur strip on Monday, even though the cartoon did not show the prophet. Still, Muslims said it mocked Islam, and the government asked the newspaper to give reasons why it should not be punished, including shutting it down.

After giving a private explanation to the government on Thursday, the Times published an "unreserved" apology on its front page Friday.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he considered the issue closed as the newspaper had expressed regret, national news agency Bernama reported.

"After they have apologized openly, there's no reservation, no conditions, and admitted that what they have done had caused various reactions from the public. I am not taking any action," he was quoted as saying.

Abdullah's comments seem to end one the biggest crises faced in recent years by the Times,  Malaysia's second biggest English daily and one of the oldest in Southeast Asia, reports the AP.