Transport minister’s aide apologises for RTM faux pas, says supports media freedom

Lim had accused RTM of ‘sabotaging’ the PH government when it did not air the speeches of his boss Anthony Loke and the Negri Sembilan mentri besar during a Chinese New Year event in Seremban recently. — Picture via Facebook/Mentri Besar Negri Sembilan
Lim had accused RTM of ‘sabotaging’ the PH government when it did not air the speeches of his boss Anthony Loke and the Negri Sembilan mentri besar during a Chinese New Year event in Seremban recently. — Picture via Facebook/Mentri Besar Negri Sembilan

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The press secretary to Transport Minister Anthony Loke today apologised for suggesting national broadcaster RTM was attempting to “sabotage” the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government when it did not air the speeches of his boss and the Negri Sembilan mentri besar during a Chinese New Year event in Seremban recently.

Lim Swee Kuan’s apology comes three days after Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo cleared RTM of any wrongdoing and pointed out that the state-owned station is only required to air the prime minister’s speeches as part of its standard operating procedure.

“Knowing now that RTM was merely following its SOP in showing only the prime minister's speech during the ‘live’ telecast of the CNY celebration in Seremban, I wish to apologise for my Facebook post dated February 17, 2019.

“I support media independence and media freedom and would love that one day RTM can be truly transformed into high quality, professional public broadcaster,” Lim Swee Kuan said in his Facebook post.

He also said he fully supports Gobind’s proposal for a media council, saying it is “the right way to go to redefine the important role of state-owned media”.

Lim has also kept his February 17 Facebook jab at RTM where he demanded an official explanation and insisted “heads must roll”, despite the public backlash.

Last Thursday, Gobind, who is the minister in charge of RTM, said investigations showed the radio and television station had committed no wrong as alleged by Lim.

Gobind mooted establishing a media council in May last year, but little is known of the proposal since.

Civil organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia yesterday revived a call for its set-up as an independent council in light of the RTM controversy, as a way to ensure the government does not attempt to exert pressure on the media.