Khalid dismisses cronyism charge over new FT paper

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad holds up a copy of ‘Wilayahku’ at the launch of the weekly recently. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad has rejected a claim by an FT Umno leader of “crony practices” over the publication of the ministry’s free newspaper, Wilayahku.

Umno Seputeh deputy chief Razlan Rafii had claimed the weekly publication did not benefit the public, and that the ministry gave out projects to cronies.

Razlan also questioned why Khalid had appointed his press secretary Zulkifli Sulong to head Wilayahku’s editorial team.

Speaking to FMT today, Khalid disputed Razlan’s cronyism claim, saying it did not make sense.

“If I had wanted to give those cronies he said that I had, I would have called for 2 million copies of Wilayahku to be printed for all three FT states to enrich those cronies.

“Why should I stop only at 20,000 copies?” he asked.

Khalid said he did not decide on the choice of the printer.

The decision was made by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, a welfare arm of the ministry.

Asked about Zulkifli heading Wilayahku’s editorial team, he said the former journalist was merely offering his professional assistance.

On giving contracts to other companies or individuals to run Wilayahku, Khalid said: “Whatever media programme for the ministry, the press secretary and the ministry’s communications unit are involved, and that doesn’t mean there is a conflict

“It is part and parcel of the job.”

He said he had also received positive responses from the public after Wilayahku was launched last Friday.

“People were asking me where to get a free copy.

“If Razlan said Wilayahku is a waste of money and that people in the cities do not read newspapers anymore, I think this is a sweeping statement,” he added.