'No media ban after all' on Umno general assembly

KUALA LUMPUR • The media will be given the usual full access to cover the Umno general assembly next month, party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said yesterday, in a reversal from what he had said the day before.

He said the plan to bar the media was overturned, following feedback from state representatives who wanted live coverage of the convention, to be held on Dec 8 to 12.

"This means the media can report openly. Media coverage will be the same as in previous assemblies," he told a press conference yesterday.

Umno is blocking deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin from speaking at the joint opening of the meetings of its Women, Youth and Young Women's wings, said some Malaysian officials. The party is trying to prevent its leadership tussle from being aired publicly, they said.

Still, plans for the media ban raised concern that Umno might look like it had something to hide.

Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan said this week that a ban might be necessary because of "some media spinning rubbish". He was referring to the focus on how Prime Minister Najib Razak handled the 1Malaysia Development scandal and on the discovery of US$700 million (S$984 million) in the premier's personal bank accounts. He was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying yesterday: "Don't worry. We will give media access and they can get information."

He also said: "There will be guidelines for media as we are concerned by some who try to pit leaders against each other."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline ''No media ban after all' on Umno general assembly'. Print Edition | Subscribe