NUJ hopes Utusan calls off inquiry on its president

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Journalists still hopes that Utusan Melayu will “seriously consider” calling off the domestic inquiry of its president, Hata Wahari, who is en employee of the media organisation. NUJ general secretary V.Anbalagan said the union at its emergency executive council meeting on Tuesday night unanimously held that Utusan’s claim that Hata had tarnished the organisation’s image with statements he issued is “ludicrous”.

“Hata, in his capacity as NUJ president, issued the statements in defence of press freedom and the welfare of members,” he said in a statement.

Hata is facing eight counts of misconduct for issuing statements to news portals Malaysikini, Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Review, and The Sun newspaper between Sept 21 and Oct 14 last year. The company had earlier fixed the domestic inquiry for today, but, in a letter dated Monday, deferred the case to Jan 17.

Anbalagan said the NUJ regards the domestic inquiry against Hata, who is also the Confederation of Asean Journalists president, as an act of victimisation of a union leader.

“It is also aimed at crippling the NUJ leadership and to serve as a warning to Utusan Melayu-based unionists,” he added.

The company had previously held a domestic inquiry against NUJ former branch chairman Amran Ahmad, which led to his dismissal in September 2009, and his case is now in the Industrial Court.