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Thursday November 26, 2009

'Govt propaganda machine' journalist gets PKR boot

SHAH ALAM: A journalist with a local Malay daily was chased out of a press conference called by officers of Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives at the state secretariat building.

Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Elected Representatives Officers Associa­tion (Selproa) secretary Ng Yap Hwa chased out Utusan Malaysia journalist Yazid Alias yesterday, claiming that the daily was a “federal government agent.”

Although Selproa president Abdul Razak Ismail later told Ng to allow Yazid in, the latter was heard saying: “We can’t allow government propaganda machines into the press conference.”

This then irked the other reporters attending the function, who said they would bring up the matter to the National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ).

Yazid, who is attached to the Shah Alam bureau, described Ng’s action as “uncouth”, adding that it was uncalled for as his office had received an invite to the function via e-mail.

He said if Selproa was afraid of their secrets being leaked out, it should state in their e-mails which media was barred from the event.

Earlier, the 85 members of Selproa urged the Attorney-General to withdraw its application against the Selangor Mentri Besar’s circular, preventing civil servants from being questioned outside of their office and only during office hours by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comm­ission officers.

“Our move is to ensure the safety and rights of political aides and those linked to the state government,” said Abdul Razak, adding that Selproa would submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and the A-G’s office on this matter.

Abdul Razak said the A-G should uphold the recent landmark ruling by the High Court on Nov 19 that witnesses should not be interrogated beyond office hours.

Pakatan-led Selangor issued the circular following the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, claiming that its officers had been the target of irregular interrogation practices by the commission.

“If the A-G goes ahead with the application to annul the circular, then it is a blatant denial of our rights as Malaysian citizens to work in a safe and secure environment.

“It also reeks of lack of independence as the A-G seems to be acting on behalf of the commission,” said Razak, who is the personal assistant to state exco member Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

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