KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pix) has described the Lembah Pantai Umno’s decision to evict non-Malay journalists from the division’s annual general meeting on Sunday as merely a “technical error”.
The party vice-president said he believed the organisers wanted all irrelevant quarters to leave the venue, and that only delegates and observers were meant to be in the hall during the event.
Ismail, who was present to officiate the meeting, however said the message might have been mistakenly conveyed to mean that only the non-Malays were not allowed entry.
“I think the master of ceremony just wanted to ask all the irrelevant parties to leave, but maybe the way he conveyed the message might have been inappropriate.
“He should have said all those that have nothing to do with the meeting should leave,” he told reporters in Parliament, here, today.
Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) had on Sunday evening issued a statement condemning Umno for asking all non-Malay reporters to leave the event venue at the Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya building in Petaling Jaya.
“The orders were given on the basis that the event was a ‘Malay conference’ and that only Malays were allowed to cover the launch of the event,” the group had said.
Commenting further, Ismail said he had no involvement in the decision as he was only invited to officiate the meeting.
On why reporters were not allowed to cover the opening speech of the AGM, Ismail said it was not uncommon for certain divisions to disallow media coverage for both the opening and the meeting.
“Sometimes we don’t want our speech to be quoted in the media, and normally we will have a press conference after the event, because some media will write outside the original context,” he said.