By DR KELVIN YII
COMMENT: The initiative by the Pakatan Harapan government to telecast live, the Moscow World Cup 2018 on RTM, will not only bring extra revenue through the sale of advertisement spots, but also help to raise the ratings of our national TV Station.
But more importantly, it will give an opportunity and chance for the poor and those who cannot afford satellite TV networks like ASTRO to enjoy the World Cup matches live, especially those in the kampung and the rural areas, especially here in Sarawak.
I am thus appalled by Snowdan Lawan, the assistant Youth and Sports Minister’s objection towards the idea saying that it is an unwise decision on the live telecast and that it is a waste of money which can otherwise be used for the people. He went on further to justify that if people wanted to watch it, they have the choice to watch the matches through ASTRO.
First and foremost, not everyone is as privileged to be able to afford any form of satellite TV network in their homes. 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 poor, especially those living in the rural communities even here in Sarawak.
Are we then supposed to deprive them of this opportunity just because they cannot afford ASTRO? Is he aware that a big chunk of the benefactors of this initiative are Sarawakians ourselves? Based on the statistics by the Sarawak Government, we have an estimate of only about 193,000 ASTRO subscribers in Sarawak. This is out of a population of about 2.77 million people in Sarawak.
Through this initiative, we are giving these people a chance to enjoy live telecast of one of the biggest sporting events in the world 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, Snowdan should be encouraging initiatives that is close to the heart of the youth and beneficial for them including promoting such world class sports event. This is beneficial not just for the youth, but also the people of Sarawak that can gather together as a family or a group of friends to enjoy the live telecast whom many of them may have never enjoyed such opportunity especially those in the rural areas where RTM has a wide reach.
On top of that, this initiative can help revamp our national television which over the years has lost its credibility due to it being used as a propaganda tool of the previous administration. This has the potential to generate more income through sponsorship and advertisements, and this was proven when Lim Guan Eng, the Minister of Finance, announced that the cost of RM30 million has been fully covered through sponsors and advertisement.
While I welcome Snowdan’s concern for our country’s financial status, but the irony is he was quiet and fully supportive of a kleptocrat and also a government that was stealing billions from the people for their personal interest which has plunged us into this financial difficulties in the first place.
• Dr Kelvin Yii is the DAP Member of Parliament for Stampin