PM allocates RM1 mln for Kasih@HAWANA fund

Anwar (centre) launching the Hawana 2023 celebration in Ipoh, Perak on May 28, 2023. Also seen are (from left) Ahmad Fahmi, Zahid Hamidi, Saarani and Bernama CEO Roslan Ariffin.

By Nancy Nais

IPOH, May 28: Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim has allocated RM1 million for the Kasih@HAWANA fund.

Announcing this at the National Journalists’ Day (Hawana) 2023 celebration launch here today, Anwar said the allocation is to enable the body to kickstart its task in helping veteran journalists and former media practitioners who are infirm and facing difficulties in life.

Kasih@HAWANA was initially introduced by the Ministry of Communications and Digital through the Malaysian National News Organisation (Bernama).

Meanwhile, Anwar assured the media fraternity in Malaysia that his government has never hindered the media’s freedom to carry out their duties and responsibilities.

“There is a lot of talk about the relationship between our Unity Government and the media in this country.

“There are allegations that the government controls the media and restricts media freedom especially in matters that does not benefit the government.

“I want to be firm here, in front of all of you practitioners, that the government respects media freedom and there is no intention to restrict media freedom in this country.

“As long as the federal government administration is led by me under this Unity Government, we will maintain media freedom to ensure the process of check-and-balance continues to thrive and functions well with integrity and transparency,” Anwar said.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; Minister of Communications and Digital Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Teo Nie Ching and Perak Menteri Besar Dato Seri Saarani Mohamad.

Concurring with Anwar, Ahmad Fahmi acknowledged the freedom for media to carry out their duties so that they can report transparently and authentically without being pressured or tied to any party.

He said this is a catalyst for the government to continue to dignify media freedom in Malaysia, in addition to being proof of the government and Anwar’s commitment to guarantee media freedom for media practitioners in this country.

“Therefore, we must continue to support efforts to increase media freedom in Malaysia, and to address the challenges faced by the media in this country,” he said.

On the other hand, Ahmad Fahmi also emphasised that media freedom is not a ticket or licence to spread defamatory information or news without legitimate sources which may threaten the peace and well-being of the people and the country.

Media freedom, he said, should be practised accordingly, especially in helping to create a form of security mindset for the community to ensure Malaysia is spared from issues related to racial sensitivity, security, religion, economic sabotage and so on. — DayakDaily