Streram denies he was warned to zip his mouth

Dr Streram Sinnasamy and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail meeting a resident of Kampung Sri Lanang in Rantau last night.

RANTAU: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate for the by-election here, Dr Streram Sinnasamy, today denied that he was “warned” by a local PKR leader not to court trouble by answering too many questions from the press.

Streram was answering questions after a ceramah with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at Kampung Sri Lanang last night when a resident asked if reporters could “tell him to stop”.

“Doctor, can you not attend to too many questions?” he said after Streram was asked to comment on a party leader’s remark that there was no point for Barisan Nasional candidate Mohamad Hasan to contest in the by-election.

The resident, who did not want to be named, later told FMT he was directing his criticism at the media, at not Streram, because “they only spin the news”.

“Let our leaders like Kak Wan (Wan Azizah) and Anwar (PKR president Anwar Ibrahim) answer questions.

“This race is about ‘top gun to top gun’. It’s not about him. It’s to say PH is like this and Barisan Nasional is like that,” the resident, who was later identified as a local PKR leader, said.

Streram told FMT today that the “wakil calon” (candidate’s representative) was only “advising” him to leave for his next programme and not to be late.

“He told me to cut short my interview with the press so we could rush to another event. That’s all he was trying to do,” he said.

He said it was a “wrongful perception” that he had been told to keep his replies to a minimum and only give “pre-approved” answers.

Reporters covering his campaign say Streram does not answer some questions immediately, getting feedback instead from what is believed to be PKR leaders before replying.

But Streram explained that he wants to be cautious, especially when it comes to his manifesto, which has yet to be launched.

He said he does not want to make promises he cannot keep, adding that “I don’t want to jump the gun”.

“I only want to talk about facts. Otherwise, they will ask me this and that and then tell me ‘you promised me this and that’.”

Streram insisted that he is free to talk to the media. “Nobody has said that I cannot respond to them. I’m answering your questions right now. I only don’t respond when I don’t know about the matter”.

The by-election on April 13 will see a four-corned fight among Streram, Mohamad and two independent candidates, Malar Rajaram and Mohd Nor Yassin.