PETALING JAYA: Journalists have joined the call by Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran for the new Speaker of Parliament to review the ruling banning reporters from the lobby of Dewan Rakyat and restricting media access.
“We sincerely hope that (access) to the Parliament lower house (Dewan Rakyat) will be restored to its previous practice of allowing the media to roam the lobby freely to get interviews with MPs and ministers as advocated for press freedom under the new Pakatan Harapan Government,” said National Union of Journalists Malaysia president Mohd Taufek Razak.
Kulasegaran, who is also Human Resources Minister, said in a statement that the new Speaker must review the ban of reporters from the lobby of Dewan Rakyat.
He said one of the first tasks for the new Speaker today would be to reverse the ruling by his predecessor Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Reporters were banished to what some of them described as the “dungeon” on a lower floor, Kulasegaran added.
“The new Speaker needs to review this and allow reporters the freedom to roam the lobby to interview MPs and ministers. This is in line with the new Government’s assurance to uphold democracy.
“There should not be any restrictions preventing freedom of the press, although the Speaker could ask for decorum from the press and their respective organisations when they are allowed at the lobby.
“I want to see Malaysia’s press freedom improve and to voice out against crackdowns on journalists,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The DAP vice-chairman said the press could also use the minister’s press conference room to conduct press conferences and interviews.
“Journalist unions and groups should also 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 said.