Speaker urged to reverse media ban at Parliament lobby

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Journalists hand over a petition to Lee Chun Boon (second from left), special officer to Pandikar. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — A group of 69 journalists today called on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to review his decision to ban the media from Parliament’s lobby.

Representing journalists from both print and electronic news outlets, the group submitted their petition to Lee Chun Boon, special officer to Pandikar, at the latter’s office in Parliament.

“We are prepared to give an undertaking to adhere to any security restrictions that might be placed on us if we are allowed to access the Parliament lobby again,” read the joint petition.

Pandikar declared the ban two days ago and cited security as the main reason for invoking Standing Order 94 of the Parliamentary House Rules, which empowers the Speaker the discretion to decide on media coverage within Parliament’s grounds.

As a result, reporters are now be restricted to the media room located a floor below the Dewan Rakyat in the Parliament building, which has impacted their opportunities to clarify certain remarks made by lawmakers inside the legislative hall.