15 May 2019
The office of Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal has accused an unnamed blogger of trying to pit his party Warisan against the Special Branch.
In a statement today, Shafie’s office stressed that the Sabah government has never issued any directive barring SB officers from attending public events involving the chief minister.
“The government has at no point barred SB officers from attending the chief minister’s public events and press conferences at such public venues,” it said.
“There is no such policy. Neither is there any instruction from the chief minister, nor is it the current government’s policy to prevent anyone from attending such press conferences, as after all, what is disclosed at the press conference is public information.
“It is therefore quite clear that the blogger conjured up this so-called ban to provoke or create bad blood between the government and the police.”
Shafie’s office noted that the matter was first raised by a news portal based on “hearsay spread by the blogger, known to have personal agenda and motives.”
As with the blogger, the news portal was also left unnamed in the statement.
t was reported last Saturday that Warisan vice-president Junz Wong (photo) had turned away SB personnel at a party press conference, claiming that the police were posing as journalists.
The Free Malaysia Today report also quoted an SB officer saying that his colleagues had been blocked on a number of occasions from attending press conferences involving Warisan leaders, including those attended by the chief minister.
SB personnel are usually in plainclothes, and are tasked with securing premises and neutralising threats before and during government functions involving high-ranking officials.
Wong had since clarified that it is not Warisan policy to bar police from its events, but acknowledged that there had been “one or two” instances where SB officers were asked to leave because they were posing as reporters.
“We can’t have people coming to an event claiming that they are journalists. It will be misleading,” he said, adding that these officers would then take up seats reserved for the media.
As a result, Wong said, genuine media personnel have ended up standing or leaving these events.
14 May 2019
Warisan: SB officers welcomed, but identify yourself
Warisan has clarified that it was never its policy to ban police special branch personnel from their events.
Party vice-president Junz Wong, however, pointed out today that there have been “one or two” instances where SB officers were asked to leave because they were posing as journalists.
“We can’t have people coming to an event claiming that they are journalists. It will be misleading,” he said in a statement.
Wong said that there have been instances where SB officers would park themselves in seats allocated for the press.
Had these officers identified themselves, he added, seats would have been allocated for them.
“Some media have complained, but due to politeness, they do not ask the non-media person to leave.
“The genuine media practitioners end up standing or leaving the function,” he said.
Wong also noted that there is nothing secret about Warisan press conferences.
On Sunday, a Free Malaysia Today report cited Wong as confirming that SB personnel were asked to leave a recent party event for posing as journalists.
In response, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said that he was shocked by the move, and stressed that SB officers “are not enemies of any party.”
KOTA KINABALU: A Warisan senior leader confirmed that the party has decided to bar Special Branch personnel from attending its press conferences.
Warisan vice-president Junz Wong told FMT today that the Special Branch will not be allowed into any press conference if they were there uninvited.
“If they want to request for it, they should identify themselves and not pretend to be reporters,” he said.
Junz, who is also the state agriculture and food industry minister, said it had been the norm in the past for the police to send their Special Branch personnel to cover government and opposition events. Under the present Warisan government, that practice was no longer in place.
“There is no reason, and no business, to be there at the press conferences,” he said.
Special Branch personnel are usually assigned to secure the perimeter for ministers and government events. They call this “flushing” to neutralise any threats before any government events involving high-ranking officials take place.
They also cover the event and report on it to their superiors. A Special Branch officer says this requires them to sit in at press conferences.
News of the new “ruling” was reported on social media, and was condemned by some bloggers as it had been usual for Special Branch officers to be present at political functions or press conferences.
Questions were also asked why Warisan decided to put this rule in place and whether Warisan president and Chief Minister Shafie Apdal is aware of this as it only made him look bad.
A local political activist and blogger, Ronnie Klassen, said the person who enforced the new ruling is the chief minister’s own “media consultant”, a former journalist in Sabah, who is now on Shafie’s payroll.
According to a Special Branch officer, this media consultant had, on a number of occasions, thrown out Special Branch personnel from press conferences involving Warisan leaders, including Shafie.