KUALA LUMPUR: Effective immediately, members of the media covering Dewan Rakyat proceedings will not be allowed to carry out their duties from the Parliament lobby.
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who made the ruling, said pressmen can work only in designated areas, such as the media centre.
Pandikar said he was informed that while proceedings take place, media representatives converge in the lobby area, in large numbers, to get comments from parliamentarians and ministers.
"This has resulted in some members of Parliament feeling uneasy. Even I myself feel uneasy.
"There are pressmen who sit all over the place, turning the lobby into a picnic area.
"Therefore, I am making this ruling that media members who are here will give coverage of either the sitting or press conferences, only in designated areas, such as the media centre, or the press gallery," he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Several Opposition parliamentarians stood up and objected to the ruling.
Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pas-Pokok Sena) urged the Speaker to consider that media personnel need to get doorstop comments from parliamentarians.
He said a more reasonable area should be set aside to allow for this.
"If an area is too hidden, they would not know the movements of the MPs.
"I don't see a problem with pressmen staying at the lobby. It adds to the excitement," he said.
Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Seremban) concurred with Mahfuz, saying that the present media centre, located at the back of the Parliament building, is impractical for journalists.
"It is quite a distance away. Sometimes, when we want to hold press conferences, we will have to go there, and then we will have to walk all the way back to the Dewan Rakyat," he said.
Pandikar later said that the ruling stands for now, but from time to time, it will be reviewed.