PETALING JAYA: The new Speaker must review the previous ruling that limited media access in Parliament, said M. Kulasegaran (pic).
The Human Resources Minister said the new Speaker should, among its other tasks, reverse the ruling by predecessor Tan Sri Pandikar Amin who had placed a "zonal" restriction on journalists "to a 'dungeon' on the lower floor as some reporters use to put it."
"This ruling was in line with the former Barisan Nasional government rule; which prevented the truth of many issues from surfacing, just look at the amount of debt the new Government is dealing with and you will get my point," he said in a statement on Sunday (July 15).
The new Speaker needs to review this and allow reporters the freedom to roam the lobby to interview MPs and ministers, which will be in line with the new Government's assurance to uphold democracy, he added.
"There should also not be any restrictions that prevent the freedom of press although the Speaker could ask for decorum from the press and their respective organisation when they are allowed at the lobby.
"I want to see Malaysia's press freedom improve and to voice out against crackdowns of journalists," he said.
The DAP vice-chairman said the press could also use the minister's press conference room to conduct press conferences or interviews.
"Besides that, journalists unions and groups should be given a chance to be heard before any decision or law about the media is made.
"The media and its personnel should also be consulted through discussions and even townhall sessions," he added.
The new Parliament – the first under the Pakatan Harapan Government – will convene on Monday (July 16), when the new Dewan Rakyat Speaker will be elected followed by the swearing-in ceremony of all 222 MPs.