IPOH, July 15 — One of the first things the new Dewan Rakyat Speaker must do when he is sworn in is to allow journalists back into the Parliament lobby, M. Kulasegaran said today.
The human resources minister said the previous Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin had banished media personnel to a room on a lower floor that had been decribed as a “dungeon” by some reporters.
“This ruling was in line with the former BN 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,” the Ipoh Barat MP said in a statement.
“The new Dewan Rakyat 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.”
Kulasegaran also called for the new Speaker to end any restriction that prevents the freedom of the press.
He said to ensure decorum, the Speaker can just tell journalists to follow the existing rules and regulations.
Media groups and should also have the chance to give their input before any decision or law is made concerning its industry, he said.
“The media and it’s personnel should be consulted through discussions and even town hall sessions,” he said.
He also suggested the press be allowed to use the minister’s press conference room to conduct press conferences or interviews.
Kulasegaran said this was part of the sweeping political changes Malaysians voted for, in order to put this country back together after what he called the “disastrous mismanagement of the Datuk Seri Najib Razak-led BN rule”.
“Malaysian voted for change; some big and some small.
“I want to see Malaysia’s press freedom improve and to voice out against crackdowns of journalists,” he said.