Ismail Sabri: Ejection of non-Malay journos from Umno meeting a ‘technical error’

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during press conference in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during press conference in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has claimed that an incident, where non-Malay reporters were ejected from a Lembah Pantai Umno division meeting yesterday, was a “technical error”.

He said the approach used by the emcee to tell non-Malay media members to leave the venue was inappropriate and that the individual should have worded the announcement differently.

Ismail was present at the event to officiate the division meeting, held at the Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya (Paum) in Petaling Jaya.

“The approach was not suitable as the emcee should have announced that unrelated persons or those who do not have passes should leave the venue.

“It must be respected that the meeting was a closed-door event. But the word used was quite sensitive and I understand why the media who heard it might have felt offended,” Ismail told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby here today.

Yesterday, journalists covering the event had complained that the non-Malay reporters were evicted even before the launch had begun, which was said to be open for coverage.

“Not really, some divisions would not allow the opening speech to be reported. Usually those who would be delivering their address would inform whether they want their speech to be reported or not, and if there would be a press conference.

“Because sometimes the media would take the speech out of context so when it is out in the public, it becomes a polemic that doesn’t benefit anyone,” said Ismail, when asked whether the opening speech was open for coverage.

Ismail said it is normal for the event to be only accessible by those with valid passes, such as delegates and observers.

“Perhaps the emcee had worded it wrongly as he was off the cuff and he wasn;t used to it, that’s why it didn’t sound very nice.

“This was a technical error. It was unintentional and there were no ill intentions by the event organiser,” said the Bera MP.

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