IPOH, 6 May 2009: Over a hundred journalists will be allowed to cover the Perak assembly sitting tomorrow although press seating in the chamber is available for only 30 people.
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said 101 reporters and photographers had applied to cover the sitting and were granted passes.
He said there might end up being more than 101 journalists at the sitting tomorrow. While the majority of security passes were approved and issued today, a few more journalists from some media organisations arrived late this afternoon to submit their applications, which are still pending.
Zambry said it was never the intention of the Barisan Nasional state government to bar any media from covering the assembly’s proceedings. He said as far as he knew, none of the applications received had been rejected.
“We were just trying to accommodate the available space. I apologise if tomorrow there is no place as there are only 30 seats available for the press inside the house,” he said at a press conference today.
“Don’t blame the state secretary (Datuk Abdul Rahman Hashim) as he was just doing his job to accommodate the seating arrangements,” Zambry added.
The initial order to restrict the number of media organisations to 13 reportedly came from Rahman.
Journalists who had submitted their applications to cover the sitting as early as Monday were today issued their security passes. This is the first time the state assembly has issued passes for media to cover the sitting.
Media personnel have been told that seating in the chamber would be on a “first come, first serve” basis.
Only one reporter and one photographer from each press are allowed into the chamber at any one time, while only one journalist from each internet media organisation is allowed. Television stations, however, are allowed to have a crew of three people each inside the chamber.
Separately, Speaker V Sivakumar said journalists who faced difficulties entering the House tomorrow should see him for help.