RTM needs to change

  • Letters
  • Saturday, 29 Dec 2007

I READ with interest Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin’s suggestions about the role of RTM in the promotion of unity among Malaysians in “More multi-racial face for RTM2” (The Star, Dec 25). 

While Zainuddin’s point on the creation of more multi-ethnic programmes is well taken, my point is that public television should respond to a changing Malaysian audience who seem to have become more ethnic (Malay, Chinese, Indian) more local and territorial (Sabahan, Kelantanese, Johorean, Hakka, Cantonese, Tamil, Malayalee etc), yet more hybrid and simultaneously more global than imaginable. 

The deep drawn cultural difference between what RTM1 offers as opposed to RTM2, is indeed problematic. RTM1 and RTM 2 needs to do away with national programming that attempts to pigeonhole, stereotype and label groups of people.  

To assume that there is a rigid, fixed audience out there is to construct a false reality. There are clearly differences within the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sabahan and Sarawakian as there are between them. 

I urge that no minority group be represented in detrimental light for an assumed majority audience. We are aware of how long it took the developed world to offer positive televised images of blacks, Asian migrants and indigenous communities. Should we take such a while?  

Malaysia remains one of few countries in the world where all religious festivities are celebrated and telecast on a national scale. Surely national TV can do a lot more in representing Malaysian life as such. 



Visiting Associate Professor 

University of Malaya and Lecturer, University of Melbourne, Australia  

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