Speaker shuts down media coverage in Parliament lobby

Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has now restricted media personnel to the media room located a floor below the Dewan Rakyat. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia today barred media personnel from reporting at the Parliament lobby effective immediately.

Media personnel will now be restricted to the media room located a floor below the Dewan Rakyat.

Reporters regularly work at the lobby in order to pursue ministers and other lawmakers who do not visit the media room to provide their statements.

“I reserve the right to revoke permissions for any individual who do not adhere to rules, and this includes the media,” Pandikar told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Security personnel immediately asked media personnel to vacate the Parliament lobby.

In making his ruling, Pandikar cited lawmakers’ security as a case for concern, labeling media members congregation at the lobby akin to a “picnic.”

He said that the presence of journalists and videographers in large numbers at the lobby seeking comments from MPs, has made them and himself feel uncomfortable.

“First reason is to do with the question of security of all of Yang Berhormat, including you both,” he said pointing to PAS Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar and DAP's Seremban MP Anthony Loke, who stood up to argue against the ban.

“Secondly, all of you Yang Berhormat including myself, work hard with regards to media coverage matters, newspaper coverage and all that. So, let the media members work hard themselves in doing their coverage and getting the material they need,” he added.

Yang Berhormat is a honorary term used to address elected representatives of the Parliament.

“So we have already prepared a place for media members. At the moment it is located downstairs. So whichever of you want to make press statements, go down. It's not that hard,” he added.

Pandikar lamented that the media culture observed in the Parliament here is also not practised at any other Parliaments.

“In other Parliament YBs, it is not like the Malaysian Parliament whereby the minister, upon exiting from the debate session, is immediately shoved with microphones. No such thing Yang Berhormat.

“Therefore, for the time being, my decision is my decision. However, I will make considerations from time to time,” he added.

Pandikar made the ruling citing Standing Order 94 of the Parliamentary House Rules which grants him the power to permit or ban any media members doing coverage within the parliamentary grounds.