Violence against journalist… Umno style
Share this on

Violence against journalist… Umno style

A group of Umno members disrupted a press conference called by a member of parliament, during which a Chinese press photographer was punched and verbally assaulted yesterday.

A spokesman of the Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA) confirmed with Screenshots that Guangming Daily photographer Koh Chun Seng ( 许俊诚 ) was punched on his right ear.



Pictures courtesy Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA)

Koh was also verbally assaulted when trying to snap photos of the whole event.

The press conference, called by Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, was held at a multi-purpose hall in his constituency, which was located in the compound of the Cheras Umno headquarters.

Tan had called the press conference to highlight Umno’s alleged abuses of government funds allocated by the Prime Minister’s Deparment to build multi-purpose halls in Kuala Lumpur.

According to Malaysiakini, Tan was explaining to reporters, who were on site, on how Umno had abused government funds for the halls by building Umno service centres instead. Quote:

Midway through the press conference, a few Umno members came out from the party’s office and told Tan’s group that they should not be gathering in “their private property”.

“They also hurled vulgar words at us and demanded that I retract my statement,” he said.

According to Tan, the Umno members, which by then have surrounded him and his supporters, tried to push him.

According to Koh, a man in the Umno group had shouted “Move, move. Don’t snap pictures. Just go away from here.”

“I responded by telling him there was no need for him to shout at us. That led to another man in the group punching me,” said Koh.

Screenshots was informed that Koh has lodged a police report at the Cheras police station over the incident and later returned to submit photographs as evidence.

Pictures courtesy Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA)

Abuse of government funds

Tan told Malaysiakini that the abuse of government funds by Umno had been going on for a number of years. Quote:

“The problem started way back in 2002. They used the allocation to build multi-purpose halls for their service centres,” said Tan.

“The PM’s Department allocates the money for the halls’ maintenance and these people use it to hire workers for their service centres,” he lamented, adding that the problem was evident in Bandar Tun Razak.

“At one part of the town, there are five multi-purpose halls within half a kilometre. And there are three halls in another road.”

Meanwhile, the MCPA had issued a press statement denouncing the use of violence against journalists at work.

The association said it was alarmed at the repeated cases of photo journalists being attacked while on duty, and wanted the culprits who took law in their own hands to be reprimanded by the authorities.

“Our photo journalists must be protected by law,” the MCPA said. “We urged the authorities to take firm action to prevent such incidents from repeating.”

Recently, two journalists from Tamil daily, Malaysia Nanban, came under bodily attack and threats on their lives over their reports in the closure of Tamil schools.

In separate incidents, Johor-based photo journalist R. Raman (R. Kalaramu)were attacked by three people and is still in coma. On the other hand, Kedah-based M. Nagarajan received death phone calls.

The attack on Koh has been given wide coverage in the Chinese Press:

1 ) 星洲日报:

2 ) 光明日报:

3 ) 南洋商报

4 ) 独立新闻在线

5 ) 当今大马

The Umno Cheras division is led by Syed Ali Alhabshee. He was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that the PM, Tan of DAP, had angered Umno members by being “rude and encroaching into Umno’s private property”.

He plans to lodge a police report against Tan for trespassing, Malaysiakini said.