Seventeen Bernama journalists, cameraman and photographers receive the Medal of National Sovereignty from Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 2 — Seventeen media practitioners from the Malaysian National News Organisation (Bernama) today received the Medal of National Sovereignty (PKN) for covering the intrusion incident in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

They received their medals from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

They were journalists Mohd Razman Abdullah, Siti Zubaidah Abdullah, Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar, Noorfarhana Ahya Arip, Sh Nur Shahrizad Sy Mohamad Shaher, Mohd Faizal Hassan, Mohd Yusof Shaari, Mohamad Azim Fitri Abd Aziz, Haslin Gaffor, Nur Adika Bujang, Nashir Mansor and Bernama TV journalist Ahmad Fauzan Azmie Abdul

Photographers Ahmad Rushdan Abdul Manan, Mazlan Samion, Azhan Pidek, Zamain Singku and Bernama TV cameraman Abu Kasim Chik were also conferred the medal.

Mohd Razman said it was the first time after 14 years working in the media that media members were conferred medals and felt lucky to be in the first group.

“This proves that the government appreciates our deeds and duties, although we do not fight using firearms but pen and paper,” he said.

He said the experience was highly meaningful and gave a lot of lessons on the importance of safeguarding national sovereignty.

He said in the almost two weeks he was there following the incident, he was devastated witnessing the village residents especially women and children who were forced to deal with the situation.

Meanwhile, Mazlan said the experience in Lahad Datu was actually a real-life experience of a war situation for him although he was a media voluntary force member and had army training.

Mazlan said although, prior to this, he had won a best photo essay award from the Malaysian Press Institute, taking photographs in the intruded area was not that simple.

“Not many photographs were taken, only photographs of bodies of terrorists who were taken out three days after being shot, the smell was nauseating,” he said.

But he was satisfied that his “sweat” was appreciated by the government through the award.

The intrusion incident by terorists from southern Philippines shook the nation after they occupied a village in Lahad Datu on Feb 12. The government launched Operasi Daulat, an offensive against the intruders on March 5 to uphold the sovereignty of the nation.

Eight policemen and two soldiers were killed in Operasi Daulat while 68 terrorists were shot dead.- BERNAMA