What’s the point of coverage if CM’s face is never shown, asks Sarawak minister

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a press conference at the state legislative assembly today.

KUCHING: Sarawak State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today defended his criticism of Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) following a rebuttal of his claims by the state broadcaster.

Karim claimed RTM might have provided coverage for 181 activities involving the chief minister and other state ministers but it did not show their faces on TV.

“What I’m saying is not baseless. I have been watching. Sarawakians have been watching as well. We are not stupid. If the programmes are attended by the chief minister, you will definitely not see his face the next day.

“What are you trying to show? That means you’re playing politics. It is like “melepaskan batuk di tangga” (doing things half-heartedly).”

He was commenting on RTM’s rebuttal of his claim that RTM was not providing coverage of state activities.

Yesterday, RTM had said in a statement that it had done “its level best to cover all activities in the state” and that in the first four months of this year, it had provided coverage of 181 activities involving the chief minister, ministers and the Sarawak government.

“RTM subsequently aired the reports through various platforms, such as on the current affairs news segment on radio, television and social media,” it said.

Kahim said at a press conference at the state legislative assembly here today: “So far, I have not seen the face of the chief minister or any other minister on air. If you can show Pujut assemblyman Ting Tiong Choon’s face on air every day, why can’t you do the same for the Sarawak chief minister?”

He claimed the chief minister and state ministers had held numerous press conferences about various programmes but that RTM had failed to provide them coverage.

“These press conferences were done not to ask the people to vote for GPS. These are about the programmes being done. Why weren’t these aired? RTM ‘kepala bapa dia punya ka?’ We feel that it’s not right,” he said.

He said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo should not be using RTM as his political tool and should “learn” to be an honourable minister.

“Don’t see Sarawak as not being part of Malaysia. Sarawakians still sing the Negaraku,” he said, adding that the Sarawak government was a legitimate government elected by the people.

He said RTM employees’ salaries were paid from taxes collected from all states in Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak.

“Basically, we are also contributing to those employees’ salaries and even to the minister helming RTM so don’t act like this,” he said.

Karim said the recent 4th Asean International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA) function, held from April 25 to 27, was not given live telecast coverage by RTM.

“Maybe the new government thinks that Asean relations is not so important or they’re playing politics just because the programme was held in Sarawak,” he said.