01 May, 2009

Only 13 media organisations will be allowed to cover May 7 Perak assembly ?

From The Malaysian Insider:

IPOH, May 1 — Only 13 media organisations will be allowed to cover the highly-anticipated proceedings of the Perak State Legislative Assembly when it is held on May 7.

A media notice was sent out by the state Information Department to several media companies yesterday informing them of the tightened security measures.

The notice stated that only 13 media groups in the list would be allowed to cover the entire duration of the assembly from May 7 to 13.

The 13 listed are television stations RTM and BernamaTV, TV3 and newspapers The Star, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, China Press, Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Tamil Namban, Tamil Nesan and national news agency Bernama.

The notice also limited the number of media workers to two people from each organisation: one reporter and the other a photographer.

The only exceptions made were to state-owned television stations RTM, BernamaTV and Umno-linked private station TV3, which are allowed to send in three people each.

Each worker is required to fill up a form together with two passport-sized photographs and send them in directly to the state Information Office here before noon on Monday in order to get the security passes.

All other media not stated in the list would be barred from entering the state assembly hall. They are also barred from hanging out at the hallways outside the hall.

This is not the first time media workers have been required to apply for a security pass in advance. It started during the legislature's first sitting last year under Pakatan Rakyat rule.

But the measures have never been so strict.

Then, media groups were only required to pre-register for security passes with the State Secretariat, which did not set a limit on the number of workers allowed in to cover the assembly.

Several media organisations including The Star and New Straits Times have lodged complaints with Barisan Nasional menteri besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir through his press secretary.

However, their gripe is more to do with the fact that the same reporter and photographer will be obliged to cover the assembly throughout the entire sitting without replacements.

Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional has nominated former Sungkai assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan from MIC as the new Perak state assembly speaker, said Speaker V. Sivakumar.

The motion dated April 29 was proposed by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and seconded by state executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman.

“An acceptance letter from Datuk R. Ganesan on the appointment was attached to the motion,” he said.

At a news conference here on Thursday, Sivakumar said he had received a motion to remove him as speaker but had yet to make any decision.

Zambry is expected to move a motion, to be seconded by Hamidah, for Sivakumar’s removal on the first day of the next state assembly’s sitting scheduled to start on May 7.

Perak State Assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri, in his letter to all 59 members of the House on Monday, said if the motion was passed, a new speaker would be chosen.

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