Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad showed little sympathy yesterday for the US Ambassador's complaint about recent 'America-bashing' in Malaysia. Asked to comment on John Malott's blast at anti-American remarks by the media and government ministers, Dr Mahathir said Malaysians had the right to speak their minds and express their feelings about issues. Referring to the angry response of Malaysians to a proposed congressional resolution calling on him to apologise for alleged anti-Semitic remarks or resign, Dr Mahathir said it was 'not so easy to switch things off'. Mr Malott's criticism at a press conference on Monday of the worsening rhetoric in Malaysia was withheld from viewers of television news broadcasts and given low-key coverage in all the newspapers. Mr Malott said he was concerned about what he was increasingly hearing and reading in Malaysia and the growing tendency to 'blame everything that was happening on foreigners, usually Americans'. He called for efforts to control the 'ugly atmosphere' which had been generated by the rising tide of anti-Americanism. A heavily edited report of Mr Malott's press conference on a government-owned television station focused on his closing remark, that it was inappropriate for the resolution's sponsors to call upon the leader of a foreign country to resign. It left the impression he was criticising the United States for the worsened state of relations between the countries. Mr Malott referred to a published claim that the embassy was not doing its job to improve ties because it urged US residents to be more security-conscious after receiving death threats. He said that was 'like blaming the victim for the crime'. The charge was made by Primary Industries Minister Lim Keng Yaik and published in The Star. Yesterday, the newspaper reported only that Mr Malott had appealed to Malaysian and US leaders to stop making inflammatory statements and gave no further details apart from the ambassador's remarks on the congressional resolution. At his press conference, Mr Malott said he would be concerned if the media featured his comments about the congressional resolution and missed the 'far more important part' of his message. But his remark was disregarded, to the disappointment of the embassy. The television news programme that gave a sanitised account of the press conference also reported a speech by Dr Mahathir in which he said countries that claimed to have unrestricted press freedom were either irresponsible or were 'just not telling the whole truth'. He said they did not report things they did not want the world to know or things with which they disagreed. Dr Mahathir said the foreign media would not hesitate to play up any negative issue about Malaysia while ignoring anything positive. The supreme council of the ruling National Front coalition gave a brief nod yesterday to the need for improved relations with the US after expressing regret over the congressional resolution. Noting that Malaysia highly valued its relations with other countries, party leaders said they were mindful of the importance of Malaysia-US ties, which they would 'preserve and enhance'.