KUCHING, June 4: When Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan recently suggested that football fans can watch the World Cup 2018 on ASTRO, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii begged to differ.
Dr Yii who was appalled by Snowdan’s suggestion, said not everyone is privileged enough to be able to afford a form of satellite TV service such as ASTRO in their homes.
He added that Snowdan went on to justify that if people wanted to watch the World Cup this year, they have the choice to watch matches through ASTRO.
“In order to enjoy such facilities, each household will need to pay up to a few hundred ringgit a month which may be out of reach for most underprivileged families and the poor, especially those living in the rural communities even here in Sarawak,” Dr Yii said in a statement today.
Snowdan had earlier objected the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s move to telecast the Russia World Cup 2018 on RTM, saying is an unwise decision and it is a waste of money which, can otherwise be used for the people.
Dr Yii refuted the claim, citing Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng who had recently announced that the cost of RM30 million to screen the matches on RTM has been fully covered through sponsors and advertisements.
“The PH initiative will not only bring extra revenue through advertisement space, while helping to raise the ratings of our national TV station RTM, but most importantly, give an opportunity and chance for the poor and those who cannot afford satellite TV like ASTRO to enjoy the World Cup matches live, especially those in the villages and the rural areas in Sarawak,” Dr Yii said.
He also asked if Snowdan was aware that a big chunk of the benefactors of this initiative will be Sarawakians, due to the geographical situation where there are many rural folks living in the villages.
“Are we suppose to deprive them of this opportunity just because they can not afford ASTRO?” Dr Yii asked.
Based on the Sarawak government statistics, it is estimated that there are only about 193,000 ASTRO subscribers in Sarawak, out of a total resident population of about 2.77 million people.
“Through this initiative, we are giving these people a chance to enjoy live telecasts of one of the biggest sporting events which happens only once in four years. Now almost everyone in Malaysia regardless of socio-economic status can enjoy such opportunity.
“As the Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports, he should encourage the initiatives that is close to the heart of the youth and beneficial for them including promoting such a world class sports event.”
Dr Yii added apart from benefiting the youth, Sarawakians in general can now gather together as a family or a group of friends to enjoy the live telecasts, and many of them may have never enjoyed such an opportunity especially those in rural areas where RTM has a wider reach.
He also said that the initiative can help revamp the country’s national broadcaster RTM, whom over the years has lost its credibility due to being used as a government propaganda machine by the previous administration.
While he welcomed Snowdan’s concerns over the country’s financial status, Dr Yii said the irony is that Snowdan was quiet and fully supportive of a kleptocrat government that has been stealing billions from the people for their personal interest, and this has plunged Malaysia into its present financial difficulties in the first place. — DayakDaily