Media City development on track, says Gobind

There have been no cost overruns reported in the RM860m project, according to minister

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The development of Malaysia’s maiden dedicated media city in Angkasapuri is ahead of schedule, with the first phase expected for completion in the next two months.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said there have been no cost overruns reported in the RM860 million project, spearheaded by DRB-Hicom Bhd.

The entire project — consisting of three phases — will be fully completed by June 2020.

“The first phase is now 91% complete and is expected to be completed in September, while the second phase is now 17% complete with the completion date expected in June 2019,” he told reporters after making the site visit to Media City yesterday.

He added that the Media City project will be equipped with modern infrastructure, on par with current technology changes towards a more comprehensive digital television (TV) network.

With this facility, Malaysia will be able to reach international standards on par with media cities in Dubai, Sydney, Singapore and the UK,” he added.

The Media City project was mooted in 2009 by the previous administration, aiming to upgrade the current two analogue transmission channels to 10 high-definition channels.

Gobind said Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) is in dire need to transform, in order to compete with local private TV stations and international companies.

The minister believes that the Media City project could also serve as a “media kitchen” for both RTM and Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), as both entities are

being considered to merge. The media kitchen would enable the agencies to secure more investments for broadcast content with a surplus of savings from management costs. He said Bernama and RTM have been instructed to submit the paper on the proposed merger of the two entities by the end of this month so that a

decision can be made soon. Describing the merger of Bernama and RTM as rather complex, Gobind assured that all important aspects such as total workforce, cost and news channels would be looked at fully

before any decision was made. “For example, if there is a merger, who will be responsible for gathering information in terms of news, (and) who will be responsible in terms of handling the news broadcasting process.

“It also involves the question of us having a surplus of manpower, that’s an important matter for me,” he said.

Gobind explained that following the announcement of the proposed merger at the end of last month, a series of discussions had been held on the matter.

The Malaysian Reserve first reported of the potential merger of Bernama and RTM last month in an exclusive interview with the minister.

Gobind had then said the merger will result in news content to be sourced by Bernama, while RTM focuses on content creation besides news.