ormer National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Mohd Hata Wahari today announced that he has joined the DAP.
In a press conference at the DAP headquarters here, the former Utusan Malaysia senior journalist said he joined DAP because he believed in its principles.
"I believe DAP is the right platform for me to fight for press freedom," he said, adding that the party is one which can spur the movement towards a better Malaysia.
He also said he did not join on any pre-conditions or in hopes of contesting in the elections.
"I joined without conditions as a member because I believe DAP has been unfairly vilified in the mainstream press as a racist party," he said.
He added that he will be focusing on dispelling those notions in his hometown of Kluang, Johor.
Hata had remained relatively low-profile since his sacking last April from Utusan for making remarks deemed ruinous to the papers reputation.
Among other things, Hata had criticised the Malay-language daily on its editorial direction, which he said led to loss of readership.
In welcoming its new member, DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng lauded Hata as an advocate of free press and expression.
"I am sure he will contribute towards the party mission of free press and a responsible government," said Lim.
Meanwhile, Lim said he was disappointed with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for not supporting the public declaration of assets for Cabinet ministers.
He was responding to reports that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had agreed in principle for Cabinet ministers and their families to declare their assets to the MACC, and that it will be implemented soon.
However, the declarations would not be made public.
"I understand that there may be security risks if family members of office bearers declare their assets to the public, but at least the office bearers themselves should do so," he said.
Lim and the Penang state exco members had last week made public their assets, which can be viewed in the Penang state government website.
Lim also called on the MACC to do their job with neither fear nor favour in the interest of transparency.