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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 9: Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah seemed deeply upset when he issued a blunt message to Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo on the ‘unfair treatment’ given to Sarawak by RTM.
Yesterday, RTM refuted the claim that it had been shunning Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and state government events in its coverage.
The national broadcaster insisted it had been fair in its reporting with covering 181 functions and activities that involved the chief minister, his Cabinet and the state government in the first four months of this year.
“We are not stupid as we have been watching the news programme. The people also can see it. What was shown were ‘hanya untuk melepaskan batuk ditangga’ (merely just passing through),” he told a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today.
“What are you trying to show? You definitely cannot see the chief minister’s or any state ministers’ faces on the news programme, but Pujut (assemblyman) Dr Ting (Tiong Choon) face can be seen nearly every day. It is alright if my face is not shown because I think he (Gobind) doesn’t like me,” he criticised.
Abdul Karim pointed out that the content of the news on Sarawak was so general that it did not even send important messages and information across.
“It is just to show that indeed Sarawak has been included in the early morning news. Plus, it is not like we are sending a message to vote for GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak).
“This shows that you (Gobind) are trying to play politics. Don’t use RTM for other agendas or as your political tool,” he said.
Sarawak, he stressed, is a legitimate state, where the people of Sarawak also sing the one and only national anthem Negaraku and, as such, Sarawak should not be seen as a government that is not part of Malaysia.
“All state functions are also opened with the singing of Negaraku as well. We are proud to be Malaysians. Don’t treat us, push us until we have to hate RTM,” he said.
RTM being the national broadcaster, Abdul Karim emphasised, should play its role accordingly as it was owned by all Malaysians, including Sabah and Sarawak, which also contributed taxes.
“I believe part of the income of the employees are contributed by taxes and taxpayers money from Sarawak and Sabah. Or else how can RTM survive until today. We are also contributing to the salary of employees as well as ministers helming RTM. They should not behave or treat us like this,” he added.
Abdul Karim also expressed disappointment with the promotion of Sarawak tourism through RTM with reference to the just concluded Asean International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA), which RTM had provided live telecast in the past three editions, but they had refused to do so for the fourth edition this year.
“I also see this as playing politics. It is not just a Sarawak programme because AIFFA is sanctioned by the Asean secretariat so it is a platform to enhance ties among the Asean countries.
“AIFFA was endorsed by all the Asean countries and the live telecast is necessary as the Asean countries will be able to receive it. Maybe the new government sees that the relationship with Asean countries is no longer that important anymore,” he added.— DayakDaily