Media Statement issued by Wanita MCA Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun in response to the reduction in airtime of RTM Mandarin news
In response to the Information Ministry’s decision to drop the airtime of Mandarin news from one hour to thirty minutes as part of RTM’s restructuring exercise, Wanita MCA chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today called on the Information Minister YB Dato’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek to reconsider its decision, by maintaining the existing airtime of the Mandarin news if not, extending it more. Replying a question at Dewan Negara, Shabery informed that the Mandarin news segment would be broadcast at 8pm on RTM1. Previously, the Mandarin news was telecasted at 12:00 noon and 8pm.
“I have gathered information that RTM1 would change into an information channel. RTM1 may go on air for 24 hours as a news station. Thus, I see no reason for the Mandarin news airtime to be halved,” Mei Fun said. “With the extension for screening hours, RTM1 should continue providing 1 hour for Mandarin news, if not more. It makes no sense to decrease the duration of Mandarin news. Similarly, with the longer broadcast time, the Tamil news should also be given more coverage.”
On another matter, Mei Fun also conveyed her disappointment that the 5-minute magazine programme aired before the 8pm Mandarin news maybe shelved.
Meanwhile, she also emphasized that “RTM2 Mandarin news enjoyed higher viewership compared to RTM’s news broadcasts in other languages, thus enabling more viewership to RTM.”
Comparing the statistics of news programmes, Mei Fun highlighted that, “the 12:00 noon Mandarin news held a viewership of 150,000 to 200,000 which was comparatively higher that the hourly news viewership which stood between 100,000 to 120,000. The 8pm Mandarin news audience grew higher with 400,000 to 500,000 viewers. This indicates that RTM’s Mandarin news competes on par with Mandarin news of other TV stations if not better.”
Owing to the outrage when the plug was pulled on What Say You, a popular Mandarin phone-in talk-show which discussed national issues, the Wanita MCA chief called on the Information to re-televise the said programme. “These days Malaysians pay more heed to transparency and openness. Being more sophisticated, Malaysians hold higher expectations from the government.
By re-broadcasting What Say You, the Barisan Nasional government demonstrates transparency and provides a link for public discussion.”