KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Umno has yet to decide on whether to open its general assembly this year for media coverage, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor said today in an apparent reversal of his earlier statement that the event would be closed-door.
When approached by reporters on the issue in Parliament, Tengku Adnan said Umno will open its doors to the media if they knew how to “behave” themselves.
“If you behave yourself, I can behave myself; I can open it to all of you,” the federal minister said.
“When I didn’t say ‘blackout’, you said ‘blackout’. That’s the problem with all of you. Please lah. You wait for a while. We’ll give you a decision, okay? Don’t worry,” added the senior official of the Malay ruling party.
Tengku Adnan also accused the media of “spinning”, saying: “I said I’ve not decided because the problem with all of you, when we open it up, you like to pick up things to spin against us. So I can’t take that. Enough is enough”.
When asked to elaborate on examples of purported media spinning, the Federal Territories minister said politicians may sometimes issue comments in public that may be “a bit off” and that the press would report that “off” bit.
“Sometimes they don’t mean [it]. That will hurt races, hurt religions. These are the sorts of things we don’t like,” he said.
Last year’s Umno general assembly saw controversial remarks being made by party leaders, including a Wanita Umno leader who alleged that a Chinese had burned a copy of the Quran. Police investigations showed later that the Muslim holy book was actually torn, not burned, by a mentally ill person.
Yesterday, Tengku Adnan confirmed to Malay Mail Online that the entire Umno general assembly next month will be a closed-door session and as such, will be strictly off-limits to the media.
The Umno secretary-general added that the decision will apply even to mainstream media organisations like Umno-linked Malay broadsheet Utusan Malaysia and the English-language New Straits Times.
Tengku Adnan’s statement comes amid the controversies over debt-laden state investment firm 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion political donation to Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.