PKR bans senior leaders from speaking to FMT

Senior leaders in PKR have confirmed the party’s gag order against FMT.

PETALING JAYA: PKR has banned its senior leaders from speaking to FMT, in an unprecedented move seen as the embattled party’s way of showing displeasure over the news portal’s coverage.

The gag order was first realised during random communications between several FMT journalists and senior PKR leaders who consistently refused to comment on questions posed by the portal.

At least one more Pakatan Harapan (PH) party is also said to be contemplating a similar gag order for the portal, although no official directive has been sent out.

It is now learnt that PKR’s directive on FMT was recently conveyed to senior leaders, with instructions to “only speak to friendly media”.

“But it’s not a total boycott. We still allow them to attend our press conferences,” said a party source speaking on condition of anonymity.

Three other senior leaders also confirmed that such a directive against FMT “was communicated to us”, but attempts to get official confirmation have not been successful for obvious reasons.

Boycotts of media outlets were imposed in the past by political parties, especially in the 1990s during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first term as prime minister, following unfair television and newspaper coverage of opposition politicians.

A senior PKR politician who is part of the party’s central leadership however said FMT’s recent coverage of PKR’s internal squabbles and its face-off with PH partners over the question of the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate “had not been kind” to party leaders.

“There have been leaks of inner circle meetings within the party, including proposals and political overtures which were still under discussion,” the party leader said, citing a particular report by a political correspondent on PH’s move to appoint Mahathir as its nominee for prime minister.

The move drew criticism from Anwar, whose party has threatened to go it alone after rejecting any attempt at a comeback for the 94-year-old.

PKR took the brunt of PH’s fall from federal power early this year.

The party, once seen as the lynchpin of the PH coalition which helmed Putrajaya for 22 months, has been hit by a series of defections, forcing it to embark on a purge including the sacking of several long-time members seen as allies of its former deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, now a senior minister in the Perikatan Nasional government.

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