Media Statement by Liew Chin Tong in Penang on Wednesday, 19th November 2008:

Is RTM halving airtime for Mandarin news? 

I call on Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Information, to clarify whether airtime for Mandarin news would be halved in RTM’s “rebranding exercise”?

Yesterday, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek confirmed in Parliament while answering oral question that RTM is undergoing a rebranding exercise which will be revealed on 1st January 2009.

I have received credible information, subject to clarification by the Minister, that the weekly airtime of Mandarin news and information will be reduced from the current 8 hours and 25 minutes to 4 and half hour from 1st January.

Currently, Mandarin news and information is broadcasted in three slots daily at 12 noon for half an hour (Mandarin Tengahari), a five-minute Galeri Perdana Mandarin at 7.55p.m., and Warta Mandarin at 8p.m. for half an hour.

Talkshow programme “What Say You” was aired on Sunday evening for an hour until it was axed three weeks ago.

It was rumoured that the rebranding exercise will reschedule evening Mandarin news from the 8p.m. prime time slot to 11p.m., and the mid-day news and Galeri Perdana Mandarin ceases to exist.

It is the obligation of the Information Minister to clarify on this matter.

* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for Bukit Bendera