This can only happen in Malaysia, the nation where everything BOLEH!
Now, media barred from Parliament lobby
KUALA LUMPUR: In another move that has journalists infuriated, the Parliament administration slapped a ban on them entering the lobby.
More than 100 representatives from various media organisations were allowed at a small corner, where press conferences are normally held.
The journalists retaliated by reporting only on events in the House while boycotting events held at the lobby. These included one press conference by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and two meetings by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament Affairs Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz was quick to response: “I am the intermediary between the legislative and the executive, I am not involved.”
On Friday, the Parliament administration faxed a notice to media organisations after 5pm on a new measure – limiting the number of pressmen covering Parliament to five at any one time effective from Monday. It cited security reasons.
Yesterday, red tape was used to cordon off the lobby with security guards stationed in the area. Only non-press members and civil servants were allowed in.
Pressmen, thus, only had access to the cafeteria, the small corner for press conferences and the Speaker’s office. They had none to the lounge meant for MPs, the cubicles for ministers, the bridge linking the lobby to the next building where the Prime Minister’s Office is located, mobile post offices and ATM machines.
In the House, some MPs fought for the journalists. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP – Bagan), for instance, raised the matter with the Chair, saying the ban did not reflect on freedom of press nor showcased the institution as a “first-world Parliament”.
“Restricting them to a corner like that will make it troublesome to get explanations from the ministers on the various government policies.
“I feel the House is not according proper respect to its role,” he added.
To this, Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told Guan Eng that the Chair had discussed the matter after the previous Parliament meeting.
“We decided there should be more order in the lobby,” he said, promising to bring the matter up with Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and deputy Datuk Ronald Kiandee. An announcement is expected either today or tomorrow.
He, however, disagreed with Guan Eng that the ban be revoked while the decision was still pending.
Later at about 3pm, Pandikar Amin said he was awaiting replies from editors on the number of reporters required at Parliament. “If five reporters are not sufficient and they need 10, then I need them to explain to me why,” he said.
“There are people who are out to gain political mileage on this issue.
“I may not be popular in this matter,” he said to Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timor), Karpal Singh (DAP – Bukit Gelugor) and the other MPs who had raised the matter.
Karpal Singh said in his 26 years as MP, he had yet to witness such restrictions.
Kit Siang said the ban made it seem as if reporters were dangerous animals. “This has made the Malaysian Parliament a world news item. We want an open Parliament.”
Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) later interrupted the debate on the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority Bill by bringing up the issue.
“Point of Order. Which rule is being referred to block journalists from covering (Parliament)? In 50 years this has never happened.
“Their work is affected,” he added.
President of the National Union of Journalists Malaysia Norila Mohd Daud said: “The action is unprecedented and has only outraged journalists and media practitioners.”
She said the new ruling appeared to be puzzling and irrational.
9.30am: Reporters arrived at Parliament lobby to discover that red tapes were used to cordon off the main part of the lobby and there were security guards around.
Reporters, photographers and camera crew were only allowed to at a small corner where press conferences used to be held. Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) was at lobby and spoke to reporters separated by the red tape.
Consensus reached among pressmen to boycott press conferences held at the lobby.
10.30am: When Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) and Khalid Abd Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) expressed their intention to hold a press conference at the lobby, many refused to attend.
10.40am: Photographers, cameramen and journalists left their “working equipment” such as cameras, voice recorders and notebooks on the floor as a sign to stop covering news events at the lobby.
11.30am: After being told that all press members had suspended their work outside the Parliament chamber, Edward Jules, an aide of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said he respected them and would convey the information to his boss.
However, he returned a few minutes later with Dr Rais and held a press conference, which was only attended by a few official media such as Bernama and RTM.
Opposition MPs Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) and Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) decided to issue written statements through their aides instead of speaking directly to the press after realising that most reporters were going on “strike”.
But when Ipoh Timor MP special assistant Lim Swee Kuan wanted to distribute some press statements at the media centre, two security guards prevented him from doing so.
“They told me that staff like us are no longer allowed to give out statements and only MPs have the right to do so.
“I then asked them where the directive came from and they told me that ‘we have it in black and white’,” he said.
Noon: Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), Tian Chua (PKR-Batu), Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai), R. Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) and Jeff Ooi (DAP-Jelutong) were present at media centre to give their statements but the press told them that the ban is on.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s meeting at noon involving the Barisan Nasional management committee meeting held at the committee room was only covered by Bernama.
2.15pm: A group of Barisan Nasional backbenchers marched through the lobby and announced business as usual for all press members by removing all barricades that restricted the movements of reporters.
Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said they did not consult the Parliament administration, nor did they get permission from the Dewan Rakyat Speaker before removing the barricade.
Najib’s second meeting – the Cabinet committee on sports development – was also covered only by Bernama.
3pm: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s meeting on palm oil was covered only by Bernama.
3.30pm: Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, who sent two aides to the media centre to look for press coverage on her 100th day in the ministry, was told “No press coverage at the lobby.”
(Source: The Star Online)
Poor reporters. All this while, they are writing only the nice things about the government especially The Star and NST. Yet they are being treated with such generosity 🙂 To think of it, this kind of treatment normally only reserved for dangerous animals or potential terrorists. What a shame… but, enjoy it while you can.
Oh? The media felt infuriated and insulted heh? How about the readers that felt insulted reading the lies that you published? No one will respect what you do if YOU do not respect your own profession. All this while you are happy playing the role of a lap dog, sucking up to your political master. Now, taste your own medicine!
(Above messages are specially dedicated for MSM)
I shall stop with the media bashing. There are good media out there, Malaysiakini, The Sun, some Chinese newspaper that I cannot read but I know are quite balance in their reports. Now let’s talk about the reasons cited for the ban.
Security reasons? What security reasons? Hey, we were given the same bullshit last time they cancelled the move to use indelible ink, citing the same reason. Muahahahahahahaha! Security reasons!!! The reporters are threat to national security, OHMAIGOAT!! This is so funny, really.
They need more order in the lobby? What? They think they are dealing with bunch of school kids? Parliament is not a school where you need to tell the kids what to do, stay in the line when queuing, keep your voice low when talking bla bla. These are adults, they would know better to be fools. I would think some MPs are behaving more like spoiled kids than the reporters. They definitely need more order than the reporters.
There are people who are out to gain politic mileage? I would think there are people feeling the heat since after the GE the media seems to ‘open up’ a bit more and be a little bit more fair in reporting the news. Some people are finishing their last mileage, that is sure.
The latest news:
Chief editors back protest
KUALA LUMPUR: Newspaper and news website chief editors have lent their support to colleagues protesting against restrictive moves imposed by Parliament authorities, saying the decision was an unnecessary hindrance and an insult to the press.
Read more here.
We are in such a mess now, it is hard not to bitch about things and just move on. Yesterday, there were reports saying petrol stations would go on strike for 3 days, and some saying only on Thursday? It turned out to be a rumour. We never really know if it was a rumour or not.. Anyone can come out with a statement saying it was a rumour while they do their shady deals behind doors. In this country, decisions are made behind closed doors.
This particular ‘rumour’ caused many motorists to dash to petrol stations and pump all they can. I received sms from Melbie telling me in Sabah, massive jams happened because of this. She even blogged about it. Hmm, not only Sabah, but I heard also happening everywhere around the country?
Then the decision by petrol stations to not accept credit card as form of payment. I pity those working in sales and marketing line. They always on the move, running around meeting clients and they normally use up to RM1k-1.5k of petrol per month. They normally claim for the petrol usage at the end of the month, so most of them will be given a credit card by their company or they need to use their own credit card 1st. Their basic salary probably 1.5-2.5k, depending on experience and position. Now, how are they going to fork out RM1k to pump for petrol?
I know how hard it is, running around and for you to use money from your ‘meagre’ income first and claim it at the end of the month. Been there, done that. Tough… You need to have a lot of cash ready and unneccessary expose yourself to danger.
If the petrol stations are not happy with the interest rate imposed by banks, then they should take it up with banks not with the consumers. People already struggling to cope with the recent increase in fuel price and this move will cause more burden to the already cash-stripped consumers.
ps: Malaysia Boleh is really a butt-joke now.. with this kind of news