Monday, December 1, 2008

Finally, East Malaysians get attention from RTM

KOTA KINABALU: RTM1 which becomes a dedicated news channel from Jan 1 next year, will air news from Sabah and Sarawak for half an hour during prime time. [The Star, 30/11/08]

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek announced that the East Malaysian states would be given half an hour of prime time (between 8pm tp 11pm) for state news to be aired nationwide. The channel RTM1 would do the honours of broadcasting East Malaysian news to the rest of the country.

As an added bonus, Shabery said RTM1 might also introduce another 30-minute weekly programme on the indegenious peoples of East Malaysia.

"We will highlight the unique arts, languages and cultures of the various races in Sabah and Sarawak like Kadazandusun, Murut, Iban and Bidayuh. All these are part of the digitalising process where one day we will have many channels and the channels will dedicate to certain fields," he said. [The Star, 30/11/08]
It is a shame that the ethnic diversities of Sabah and Sarawak seem to go unappreciated by West Malaysians. Nonethelss, the Information Ministry should be applauded for their effort in bridging the cultural differences of the East and West. Hopefully, in time, Malaysians would be encouraged to appreciate and embrace their nation's diversity.

But of course, it is not just television air-time that the two states need. Both states probably have the most abundant natural resources in comparison to their Peninsular equivalents but are still stricken with the highest poverty rates in the country. Not to forget: illiteracy, crime rates and unemployment are still major concerns of everyday life.

How about a little more attention from the Federal Government now?