KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Putrajaya must clarify whether the public or corporate sponsors will bear the estimated RM40 million cost to televise the Fifa World Cup on state broadcaster RTM, said former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim.
Rais urged Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo to explain the financing for the proposal, and noted that it would be inconsistent with the government’s austerity drive if Putrajaya must pay for the sporting extravaganza.
“Is that sum from advertising or aid by the government? If it is aid from the government, the policy to save doesn’t make sense.
“Collaborate with Astro to share the broadcast. Save the country’s funds,” he wrote using his Twitter account @DrRaisYatim last night.
Yesterday, Gobind said the Cabinet has agreed to broadcast the 2018 Fifa World Cup live via RTM, adding that the federal government will try to keep the fee low by getting the broadcasting rights through a directly negotiated tender.
Gobind said sponsorships and advertising are expected to help lower the cost, with the Finance Ministry scheduled to release a cost breakdown today.
He said RTM is expected to broadcast 27 of the 41 World Cup matches live, with the remaining games to be delayed telecasts.
In Malaysia, cable network Astro is currently the only network with broadcasting rights to show all World Cup matches live.
The media rights to show the World Cup in Malaysia have been held by M-League Marketing Sdn Bhd since 2002, which then licenses it to Astro.
The ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition had included the live broadcasts of all major sports leagues around the world, including the English Premier League, as part of its manifesto for the 14th general election.
After coming into power, PH revealed that Malaysia has over RM1 trillion in liabilities.
PH has also announced various cost-cutting measures such as a 10 per cent pay cut for ministers, the scrapping of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project and the third line for the MRT railway.