M’sia former deputy PM urges ministers to hold virtual press conferences, says journalists are also frontliners in COVID-19 crisis

In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, ministers should consider holding virtual press conferences where journalists are given the opportunity to pose their questions online, said Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Dr Wan Azizah, who served as the country’s first female deputy PM from 2018 to this year during the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s reign, said that journalists are also frontliners during this crisis who are often on the move to cover breaking news.

“We know that the supply of masks and gloves may not be sufficient at this point in time and we should think about other measures to keep our journalists safe,” the Pandan Member of Parliament said in a statement today (23 Mar).

Noting that there are “many applications” that can be utilised for the purpose of holding virtual press conferences, Dr Wan Azizah said that ministers can even record their own “press conferences” and send them to news organisations for journalists to prepare news pieces.

“Alternatively, press statements can also be sent to the media organisations,” she added.

The above measures, said Dr Wan Azizah, will “enable journalists to work without having to travel and will reduce their exposure to COVID-19”.

“What’s right should become the norm and the norms should be altered to become what’s right,” she concluded.

Dr Wan Azizah was a medical doctor prior to her career in politics. She is currently the advisory council chairman for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), while her husband Anwar Ibrahim holds the position of party president.

Malaysia has recorded 11 deaths due to COVID-19 and 1306 confirmed cases in total as at Sun night (22 Mar). The country is on its fifth day of the Movement Control Order, which entails the closure of all public and private premises except essential services until 31 Mar.

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