KUALA LUMPUR: Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) was following standard operating procedure when it aired only the speech made by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad live last Sunday, said Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo on Thursday (Feb 21).
Mr Gobind issued the statement in response to Mr Lim Swee Kuan, the press secretary of Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who had accused the national broadcaster of "sabotaging the federal government" via a Facebook post after Mr Loke's speech at the Chinese New Year event was not broadcast live.
Mr Gobind said that according to the RTM SOP, when the prime minister attends an official event, only the delivery of his speech will be included in the live coverage.
“RTM cannot be faulted for not airing the delivery of the speech of a minister and the menteri besar (Chief Minister) of Negeri Sembilan at that (CNY Open House) event as the prime minister had attended and spoken at the event,” he said.
READ: Malaysia transport official takes aim at national broadcaster for not airing minister's speech
After the event, the press secretary demanded an explanation from RTM. He also lodged an official complaint with Mr Gobind, who asked RTM for a report of the incident.
Mr Loke later defended his aide, saying that Mr Lim's comments merely reflected his personal feelings and were not an infringement of media freedom.
The minister also denied asking Mr Lim to pen the Facebook post.
On Thursday, Mr Gobind said that despite the SOP, event organisers could still talk to RTM about adjustments to the live programme, but there were no requests for changes from the organiser of the open house event, which was the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
He also said he would not hesitate to reprimand anyone if it was crucial to improving the services at RTM.