Don’t restrict journalists to ‘dungeon’ in Parliament, says Kula

IPOH: The new Parliament speaker must review the ruling that limits media access in Parliament, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said today.

He urged the new Speaker, Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, to reverse the ruling by his predecessor Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, who had placed restriction on journalists "to a 'dungeon' on the lower floor as some reporters use to put it".

"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," he said in a statement.

"The new speaker need to review the ruling 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."

The DAP vice-chairman said there should also not be any restrictions that prevent the freedom of press, although the Speaker could ask for decorum from the press and their respective organisations when they are allowed in the lobby.

"I want to see Malaysia's press freedom improve and to voice out against crackdowns on journalists," said the Ipoh Barat MP.

The press could also use the Minister's press conference room to conduct press conferences or interviews, he said.

He added that unions representing journalists should be given a chance to be heard before any decision or law about the media is made.

"The media and it's personnel should be consulted through discussions and even town hall sessions," he stated.

The 14th Parliament will convene tomorrow.