Sep 5: UMNO's Kelab Putera 1Malaysia has continued to draw flak for its obsession with media publicity to the extent that it failed to take necessary measures to protect its crew, including slained Bernama journalist Noramfaizul, killed two days ago in Somalia.
PUBLICITY HUNGRY ... UMNO's Kelab Putera 1Malaysia head Azeez (2nd from right, in black jacket) posing for the camera during a mission to 'rescue' Malaysian students stranded in Egypt at the height of the revolution
PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar said its chief Azeez Abdul Rahim should have focused on the mission's real objective of helping Somalis overcome their famine and the safety of its entire crew.
“Why did Putera 1Malaysia not provide bullet-proof jackets and other safety gadgets? Not only Allahyarham (Noramfaizul) was not provided the safety jacket, the entire crew were also not protected.
"But Eskay Abdullah could wear a bullet-proof jacket when he came to the mosque for his oath, even when there was no threat at all,” said Mahfuz, referring to one of the 'Dato T' trio behind the sex video which they claimed was of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
READY FOR SHOTS ... Rahim Thamby Chik, Eskay and Shuaib Lazim, at their oath-taking ceremony last April. All three were wearing bullet-proof vests.
“The safety of members in the mission especially the journalists are more important than the media limelight,” added Mahfuz to Harakahdaily.
It has been revealed that Noramfaizul did not wear any protective gear including bullet-proof vests. Noramfaizul was also said to be travelling in a vehicle which was not identified as belonging to the media.
In his response, prime minister Najib Razak dismissed criticisms over the incident, telling those who were afraid of taking such risks to simply stay at home.
“Many international journalists have also been killed in many parts of the world. You can take precautions, you can put them on courses and all that for safety, but there’s no absolute guarantee once you’re in (areas) of conflict. As I said, no one can guarantee anything. If you’re not prepared to take risks, then stay at home,” he was quoted as saying.
Noramfaizul’s uncle Abu Bakar Md Yasin however demanded Putera 1Malaysia to take full responsibility over his nephew's death.
“They cannot evade responsibility. They should have done prior intelligence. Don’t just barge in. This is a foreign country,” he was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider.
Mahfuz meanwhile said Azeez should admit his negligence and resign as Putera 1Malaysia's head.
Anger over Noramfaizul's death was also expressed by UMNO's Zaini Hassan, the deputy chief editor of the party's mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia.
“Mercy Malaysia also carry out welfare work in foreign countries, but they did not make much publicity, and do not bring so much media... Oh well ,” he wrote in a Facebook posting.