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Non-MPs barred from Parliament PC area

 | November 8, 2012

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia says this is because non-MPs are abusing Parliament grounds.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: Anyone who is not a member of Parliament will no longer be allowed to speak to the media at a special press conference area within the Parliament lobby.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said the space, reserved for MPs, was misused by others to give press conferences.

“This is for those people who purposely use Parliament facilities to sit with the MPs for coverage,” he told reporters in his chambers.

At the same time, he said that people were still allowed to speak to the media within Parliament grounds, so long as it wasn’t within the special press conference area.

There had been many times during Parliament sessions when groups or individuals were invited by various MPs to speak to the media.

In many cases, some of them had been members of these MPs’ own political parties, and would sometimes take charge of these press events.

Earlier today, Pandikar told the Dewan Rakyat that with immediate effect, the press conference area could only be used by MPs.

Invoking Standing Order 93 and 94, he said the matter would be relayed to the Prime Minister, the Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, the Opposition Leader and the head of Parliament’s Administration.

At the time, none of the MPs present in the House stood up to object.

Pandikar also said that some Parliaments around the world did not even allow the press to enter their grounds.

He added that even India’s Parliament had a special press conference area outside its gates.

“You are allowed here because that is our culture… Our culture here is, you want to be with the minister the moment he comes out after the debate. You feel comfortable like that, okay… but don’t go beyond that,” he said.

Pandikar also disagreed with claims that there was no space for Malaysians to air their grouses, adding that press conferences could be done anywhere.

“I think their purpose is, this is Parliament, [and] once they sit there [in the area], they’re going to have coverage,” he said.

Speaking to FMT later, PKR-Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said that while it was important for MPs to engage with Malaysians, she acknowledged the need for decorum in Parliament.

“I hope it won’t be too stringent on [other] matters, as long as there is a balance between decorum and the engagement of the people,” she said.


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