Govt proceeding with Bernama-RTM merger

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 July 2018: 

Bernama and RTM have been instructed to submit the paper on the proposed merger of the two entities by the end of this month to enable a final decision on the matter to be made soon, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

Describing the merger of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) as rather complex, he gave the assurance nevertheless that all important aspects – such as total workforce, cost and news channels – would be looked at fully before any decision is made.

“For example, if there is a merger, who will be responsible for gathering information in terms of news, 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 after a working visit to the Media City development site here today.

Accompanying Gobind Singh on the visit were Bernama chief executive officer Datuk Zulkefli Salleh, RTM deputy director-general (strategic broadcasting) Abdul Muis Sheffi and DRB-Hicom Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.

Gobind Singh 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, with the two entities under the ministry raising many good suggestions.

He said it was believed the merger, which would probably incorporate a Media Kitchen, would be able to secure more investments for broadcast content with a surplus of savings from management costs.

Earlier, Gobind Singh – who was given a briefing on the development of the Media City – said the first of the three phases involved the renovation of the existing buildings which is expected to be completed in September.

The second phase would also involve similar work and is expected to be completed in June next year, he said – adding that the third phase involved the construction and completion of the new facilities expected to be ready in June 2020.

“I was informed that the existing cost is enough to cover the construction, and I was also informed that they are ahead of time.”

The Media City, proposed by the government in 2009, is being established on 27.11ha at Angkasapuri at a cost of RM860 million.

Meanwhile, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry said in a statement the Media City project will be equipped with modern infrastructure in line with the current technological changes towards comprehensive digital TV network.

With the implementation of the Media City project, Malaysia would be able to achieve international standards similar to the Media City in Dubai, Sydney, Singapore and Manchester, it said.

“Inspired from the concept and idea of Media City in the United Kingdom, the project aimed at upgrading two existing analogue transmission lines to 10 HD channels.”

It said that the Media City project comprises three major components – namely, the renovation works on existing buildings as well as to design, supply and to install broadcasting systems, while the third component was to design, build and to equip the project with new facilities.

“Work progress for the first phase is at 91% and is expected to be fully completed on Sept 11 this year while for the second phase is currently at 17% and is expected to be completed by 11 June 2019.

“Meanwhile, the work progress of the third phase that involved, among others, designing, building, completing and maintaining Media City’s infrastructure, buildings and equipment is at 25% now and is expected to be completed by 11 June 2020.”

Media City is expected to be the catalyst for enhancing the capacity of national broadcasting infrastructure and is part of the ministry’s plan to ensure the country’s digital broadcasting technology infrastructure achieves international standards.

– Bernama