KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi has called upon Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan @ Harun to reverse the “atrocious and regressive” policy of preventing the media covering Parliament and subsequent budget tabling next month.
“The Speaker of Parliament, Azhar Azizan Harun should reverse the atrocious and regressive policy of preventing media from covering the upcoming budget sitting. If he fails to do so, the reputation of the Speaker will be at risk of grave damage because he will be seen as trying to manipulate media narrative on parliament sitting.
“Neither I nor anyone else would argue against stringent SOP in parliament to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 protocols are non-negotiable. In fact, the opposition has taken the government to task for neglecting and breaking its own Covid-19 safety laws.
“Yet, is this a good reason to prevent the journalists from performing their duty to report on parliament proceeding, especially one as important as the annual federal budget? To use Covid-19 as an excuse to censure the media is not only irresponsible but atrocious and regressive,’’ the DAP MP said.
This follows a directive issued by the Parliament corporate communications department last week, stating that they will limit the Dewan Rakyat proceedings and the budget tabling to only 15 media agencies.
As a means to mitigate potential Covid-19 infection, Wong instead suggests that the Speaker of the house should instead implement clearer guidelines for members of the media.
“No media should be prevented from coming to Parliament to cover parliamentary business because parliament’s business is the people’s business and the people have the right to be informed thereof via fair media reporting,’’ she said.
Wong also suggests that Parliament should restrict the size of ministers’ entourages.
“During the last sitting, ministers and deputy ministers attended Parliament trailed by large groups of people. While we recognise that civil servants are present to assist in ministries’ parliamentary affairs, Parliament should be wary of lobbyists and political followers crowding the august building.
Related Articles RMCO: Employers reminded to get foreign workers tested, says Ismail Sabri Dr Noor Hisham: No evidence Covid-19 can spread via frozen food packages Muhyiddin back in office after completing 14-day home quarantine