Updates from Parliment
At about 2.15pm, several backbenchers led by Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) took direct action in physically removing the barricades
The journalists however decided to continue the boycott since there was no official revocation of the ruling from the Parliament administration.
When the matter was brought up again by Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) during the afternoon debate, speaker Pandikar Amin stood his ground and ticked off the opposition MPs for raising the issue.
“Since when Bagan (Guan Eng) and Batu Gajah (Fong) are interested to become the editors?” he asked. “How do we know whether those showing the press tag are indeed journalists?”
According to the speaker, he is awaiting a response from media organisations over his ‘enquiry’ on whether it was appropriate to enforce the ‘five journalists only’ rule.
Pandikar Amin said he will make a final decision after receiving feedback from the media.
However, according to a copy of the notice sent to media organisations last week, it was clearly stated that the Parliament “has decided” that each paper could only send five journalists.
Apart from journalists, aides and press secretaries to MPs have also been subjected to stringent security rule – they are no longer allowed to distribute their bosses’ press statements in the media room, where journalists use to file their reports.
Only MPs will be allowed to do so, according to Guan Eng’s aide Lim Swee Kuan who was asked to leave the media room by security personnel around noon today.
PM, DPM, opposition functions affected
The protest by the journalists has affected scheduled press conferences called by the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Pakatan Rakyat MPs from Kuala Lumpur.
Abdullah was slated to chair a cabinet committee meeting on the competitiveness of palm oil in Parliament while Najib will chair two meetings – one of which is the Umno management committee meeting.
Whereas the Pakatan MPs from Kuala Lumpur had planned to call a press conference on the Draft KL City Plan.
However, all the press conferences were boycotted by journalists. Only state-owned news agency Bernama sent its representatives to cover the events.
On hearing the ban, the Pakatan MPs went to the media centre for their press conference but were told by journalists they would not be reporting anything apart from the debates in the House’s chamber.
A scheduled launching of the official government’s weblog by Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek, initially slated for tomorrow at Parliament, has been postponed to another date as a result of the boycott.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, when asked, refused to comment.
“I am only the intermediary between the executives and the legislature. I’m not involved in this,” said the normally outspoken minister who oversees parliamentary affairs.