RTM will not be shut down, says Gobind

The broadcaster is still of great importance to the nation amid rapid developments in technology, says minister

by NG MIN SHEN / pic by ISMAIL CHE RUS

Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), the country’s pioneer television (TV) and radio station operator, will not be shut down, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (picture).

He said the broadcaster is still of great importance to the nation amid rapid developments in technology, which have led to heightened competition in the media industry.

“As the minister responsible for RTM, I am very proud of RTM’s achievements over the past 73 years. There are outside parties who have spoken to me, saying that maybe we do not need to carry on with RTM, and I stress—no way! RTM is an institution,” Gobind said in a speech at RTM’s 73rd anniversary celebration in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“I understand and I know that times have changed. When there is competition, we must ensure that we can stay ahead in order to remain relevant. After 73 years, we are still relevant and strong because members of RTM are still strong. You are the heart and soul of RTM. Continue showing the world what we can do. Prove that we can rise to this challenge,” Gobind further said.

Gobind pledged his support for RTM in order for it to move forward and be Malaysians’ top choice on TV and radio.

Last year, it seemed increasingly possible that the nation’s longest-serving — and often viewed as rather traditional — broadcaster could be rationalised when Gobind suggested merging RTM with another government-held media agency.

The minister had said in June that plans were afoot to merge RTM with the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) — both state-owned media entities under his ministry’s control — as a means of reducing costs and removing redundancies.

In November, the proposed merger was reported to have been shelved due to objection from the staff and management of both organisations, fuelled by fears of heavy job cuts.

However, Gobind said in February this year that the RTM-Bernama merger is still under consideration, although the government’s present focus is on other areas in both organisations.

As an agency under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, RTM supports all government policies, while introducing and explaining these to the Malaysian public via radio and TV programmes.

From its beginnings as a radio broadcaster in 1946, the organisation has now expanded its services to include 33 radio channels.

It has also broadened its offerings to keep up with the emergence of “new media”, with services such as live streaming, a mobile application called RTM Mobile and an over-the-top service known as MyKlik.

“MyKlik has so much potential to grow more intensively in the near future. It is a service that can generate more revenue for the government. Remember that RTM has the largest programme archive in Malaysia and the potential to offer this service is tremendous. Old, iconic programmes can be offered through MyKlik,” Gobind said.

As Industry 4.0 approaches, the broadcaster is currently implementing its transformation plan, which covers broadcasting, programmes and work culture in an effort to ensure it does not get left behind.

Gobind said his ministry is ready to help the broadcaster prepare for Industry 4.0, while strategic partnerships are also being discussed to further improve RTM’s services.

“The RTM, Bernama and Information Department synergy was established to strengthen the delivery of information on social media via accurate and effective means,” he added.