KUALA LUMPUR: It is not true that Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia has prohibited reporters from entering the Parliament lobby because he wishes to curtail press freedom.
Lenggong MP Shamsul Annuar Nasarah made the denial today while defending Pandikar’s right to bar the media from the area.
“The speaker is acting within his power.
“I don’t believe he did so to block the media because other areas may be designated for them to do their work.”
Annuar said this at a press conference for the #BolehBincang campaign to help Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Negara loan defaulters at Hotel Seri Pacific here.
The media on Tuesday were stunned to find they had been barred from the lobby of the main building.
It has been common practice for them to wait in the area to interview or speak to MPs on the business of the day in Parliament.
It was explained that the prohibition was necessary because the reporters were pestering the MPs with their questions and “having a picnic” while they waited in the lobby.
The media are now only allowed in the media room one floor below.
Media representatives have appealed to Pandikar to review the ban but the speaker has refused to budge so far.
The National Union of Journalists, Institute of Journalists Malaysia, Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia and Gerakan Media Merdeka have condemned the ban.