Rais Yatim claims Wan Hamidi as Bernama CEO will 'politicise' the news agency

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Rais Yatim (pic) is not in favour of Wan Hamidi Hamid, former editor of DAP publication The Rocket, being appointed as Bernama CEO.

The Pakatan Harapan administration should reconsider the appointment of the ‘politically savvy’ Wan Hamidi Hamid to avoid a public backlash, said Rais.

“I think Pakatan leaders should be sensitive to what they had committed and what they do.

“In the first place, we were warned that we shouldn’t be putting politicians or people with very savvy political views in areas where neutrality is supposed to be maintained,” he told The Star when contacted on Friday (Sept 21).

He added the appointment would stir a reaction and reflect negatively on the previous decision made by Pakatan policy makers.

He cited the recent controversy surrounding Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s appointment as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president which had courted protest among student activists.

He added that Wan Hamidi’s appointment would give the public the impression that Pakatan was ‘blowing hot and cold’ with regard to its stand against politically-linked appointments.

“We must fortify what we originally say.

“We say no politicians or no politically oriented individuals to be heading neutral organisations, universities but now it’s Bernama,” he said.

He suggested that a seasoned news man from a national media house is appointed for the post.

“Bernama should have a neutral guy there.

“I think it’s good if you have a seasoned journalist from one of the news houses but not a politically savvy personality,” he said.

Dr Rais, who was former minister of information, communication and culture from 2009 to 2013, was commenting on The Star report on Friday (Sept 21) that Wan Hamidi is expected to helm the post after the present Bernama CEO Datuk Zulkefli Salleh retires in October.

Wan Hamidi, The Rocket former editor-in-chief, is currently deputy director of the DAP-linked think tank Research for Social Advancement (Refsa).

Wan Hamidi has worked with several media companies, including The Star from 1994-1995 and 1997-1999.