Limiting Parliament coverage to 15 media organisations arbitrary, discriminatory and against the very spirit of parliamentary reforms
The limiting of coverage of the November budget parliamentary session to 15 media organisations is arbitrary, discriminatory and against the very spirit of parliamentary reforms which should inform all parliamentary decisions.
This decision is particularly unacceptable as the selected 15 media organisations are not the top 15 media organisations if the people of Malaysia have a say in choosing them.
In any event, this decision should not be made by parliamentary administrators but should be made by the Dewan Rakyat House Select Committee, which is entrusted with the task “to consider and advise Tuan Yang di-Pertua upon all matters connected with the comfort and convenience of and services and amenities available to members of the House” Under Standing Order 79 (1).
Why is the Dewan Rakyat House Select Committee completely excluded from this decision, as if anyone can argue that media coverage of Parliament is not one of the “services and amenities available to members of the House”!
Although the Covid-19 pandemic must be taken seriously ( and if Covid-19 pandemic is taken seriously, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister would have been referred to the Committee of Privileges for violating the Covid-19 quarantine SOP and threatening the health and lives of other Ministers and MPs), is it beyond Malaysian parliamentary ingenuity to ensure broad media coverage by opening a larger room in parliament, in compliance with physical distancing requirements?
The decision to limit media coverage of the November budget parliamentary session to 15 media organisations must be reviewed immediately, and in the review, the House Committee and representative media organisations must be allowed to give their input and suggestions.
The present situation where all the Select and Special parliamentary committees are in hibernation and could not meet is most scandalous.