KUALA LUMPUR: The decision made by the Lembah Pantai Umno division to stop non-Malay media personnel from covering its annual general meeting was merely a "technical mistake", says Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob (pic).
“A technical mistake. It wasn’t done on purpose. To me, there are no ill-intentions by the organiser of the event to the media,” said Ismail Sabri.
According to the Bera MP, the event organiser might have evicted the media personnel because it was a closed door meeting, adding that only individuals with an entry pass are allowed to enter.
“That is normal. If there is no pass, even observers are not allowed in. Perhaps, the organiser of the event was sincere to tell those concerned to leave
“Maybe the way it was said (by the organiser) wasn’t quite right. Besides that, I also think it isn’t a decision by the division. Maybe he isn’t used to such scenarios, so when he said it, it wasn’t nice.”
Ismail was speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday (July 15).
He also explained that speeches made by certain Umno leaders were not allowed to be quoted by the media.
“Some divisions don’t allow speeches to be quoted. Usually, as speakers, we will say that this speech cannot be quoted, but if anyone wants to know about the speech, they can do so at a press conference after.
“This is because sometimes certain media quote the speech out of context. They have a different view compared to the speaker. So, when it goes public, it will trigger polemics that do not benefit anyone,” Ismail said.
On Sunday (July 14), a press group condemned the Lembah Pantai Umno division for allegedly evicting non-Malay media personnel from its annual general meeting, which was officiated by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) said that the instructions were issued on the basis that the event was a "Malay conference" and that only Malays are allowed to cover the launch of the event.
“Non-Malay reporters and photographers were asked to leave the event right before it began at around 2pm at the Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya (PAUM) in Petaling Jaya,” Geramm said in a statement.