Avoid political appointees, PPBM man warns news agencies

Former minister Rais Yatim. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister Rais Yatim has warned against appointing individuals with political backgrounds to organisations or news agencies, amid rumours that the former editor-in-chief of DAP party publication The Rocket will be made CEO of Bernama.

“Otherwise, the agency will become politicised as well.

“It is not a good choice if we link with someone who has a political background,” he told reporters after the launch of a book by the late Kassim Ahmad, “Autobiografi Seorang Pemberontak”, at Universiti Malaya here today.

He was responding to a report by The Star which quoted sources as saying that Wan Hamidi Ha­mid was expected to be appointed as Bernama CEO.

Current CEO Zulkefli Salleh is expected to retire next month.

Rais said Bernama was a neutral agency and should remain that way without political affiliations.

“I have nothing against him (Wan Hamidi), but this is not a good trend.

“We have said before that we are against political appointees. If we appoint someone who clearly represents a political party, then we are not walking the talk.”

He added however that he would leave the matter to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

Rais, a former Umno member who is now with PPBM, also said it was up to Umno veterans Anifah Aman and Mustapa Mohamed whether or not to quit the party.

“Tok Pa was with Umno for so long, just like I was,” he said, referring to Mustapa.

“He is choosing this way to continue serving the people. We should respect that.”

He said Umno would be affected by the loss of leaders and advised the party to focus on rejuvenating itself in order to remain relevant.

He said Umno needed to assess its options and return to its original principles and struggles.

“A lot of that has been forgotten. If Umno looks back to its principles and understands them, it may be able to strengthen itself again.”