Dewan Rakyat Urged To Allow Utusan, NST To Cover Sittting – Salleh

KOTA KINABALU: Former Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has urged the Dewan Rakyat to review its decision to bar Utusan and the New Straits Times (NST) from covering the upcoming Parliament sitting which begins next week.

In making the call, he said as a country that adopts a democratic system, the principle of “openness” should be practised.

“We can no longer be like before, we want to control the thinking of society because information can be obtained from various sources and various ways.

“In a democratic system, we have to accept dan respect the differences between us and we don’t necessarily agree with their opinions but it’s not wrong for us to listen … what’s important is a balanced report,” he said.

Salleh, who is also the former Sabah Chief Minister, said this when interviewed by The Malaysian Insight on the issue recently.

Excerpts from the interview were uploaded on Youtube yesterday.

Salleh said both Utusan and NST are established newspapers in the country and should be given the opportunity to cover Parliamentary sitting.

“We must not underestimate the thinking of the people. The thinking of the people is not like before.

“If it is true (Utusan and NST are not allowed to cover Parliament sitting), the decision should be reviewed,” said Salleh.

In a statement on September 8, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun announced that only 16 media agencies were allowed to cover the upcoming sitting from inside Parliament grounds, with no reasons given for the arbitrary move.
Media organisations allowed to cover the Parliament sitting include government media agencies RTM, Bernama, the Information Department and Finas.
Other agencies allowed to enter Parliament are TV3, Astro Awani, Berita Harian, Sinar Harian, The Star, The Sun, Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Malaysia Nanban, AFP, Malaysiakini and Malaysia Now.

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