KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — PAS leaders reportedly scolded a reporter who asked a question in English.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that Islamic Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad and Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Awang Hashim have chastised its reporter Minderjeet Kaur for not speaking in Malay, and did not answer her query.
According to FMT, the reporter was asking how the Islamist party’s policies were affecting non-Muslims in Kedah.
“You must also ask proper question, you know. You want me to respect you, you must respect us first… Can you speak in Malay?” Awang reportedly asked.
FMT also alleged that the PAS leaders, instead of answering the reporter’ question, asked her back whether she would allow her husband to gamble.
Meanwhile, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a statement said the union was unhappy with the actions of some leaders and politicians, like the duo, who “bullied reporters who were carrying out their duties”.
“It must be remembered that the job of a reporter, other than asking questions to channel information to the public, is to play a check and balance role in the administration of the country, state or politics,” said NUJ President Farah Marshita.
When contacted by other media, the Deputy Human Resources Minister Awang Hashim denied he harrassed or bullied the reporter.
He told Malaysia Gazette he was merely “advising” her to pose her question, initially addressed to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad, in Malay rather than English.
He also insisted that Bahasa is the national language of the country that the journalist should respect.
“I understand her reason for asking in English. I asked her, ‘Are you Malaysian?’ I was also asking in English. She said ‘I am Malaysian.’ So I responded, ‘Can we speak in Malay?’ That’s it.
“I am a Malaysian and we are trying to uplift Malay as the national language, ” he added.