20 August, 2010

Two top execs at 98.8 FM suspended, popular talk show in limbo

Radio station 98.8 FM saw two of its top executives suspended after its popular DJ Jamaludin Ibrahim was asked to take leave upon receiving Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) complaint letter.

CEO Wong Lai Ngo and senior program manager Chen Jia Rong were reportedly suspended after MCMC complained that the programme "Say Hi to Malaysia" contained "inappropriate language."

The Chinese-speaking Malay DJ, known by his fans as Jamal, received notification on Wednesday evening while the two executives were suspended on Thursday.

Linda Ngiam, chairman of Star RFM Sdn Bhd, did not announced in her statement on Wednesday that actions were taken against Wong and Chen.

She said that there would be an investigation on this serious matter where appropriate action wiould be taken.

According to The Star, the complaint letter pointed out that announcers and panelists had used "inappropriate language that the listeners found to be offensive."

MCMC claimed that the morning programme, aired Monday to Friday, had threatened national security and compromised race relations.

The programme is well known for its phone-in sessions which mainly discusses current affairs issues and is popular with the Chinese community.

The radio station's DJs and invited guests have expressed outrage over the MCMC allegations and claimed that their efforts on air, and that of Jamaluddin's, were to diffuse ethnic tensions.

Jamaluddin's suspension was announced by two DJs on the show yesterday morning. The two also wept on air over the removal.

Meanwhile, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the party will not intervene in the case involving Jamaluddin Ibrahim, a 988 FM Mandarin radio station talk show host, who has been suspended from work since Aug 19.

Chua said in a statement today that MCA has never interfered in the operations of The Star Publications (M) Bhd and its subsidiary — Star RFM Sdn Bhd which owns the 988 FM Mandarin radio station.

"I am given to understand that the 988 radio station has received a warning letter from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). I am informed that Jamaluddin was asked to go on leave.

"The MCA is not responsible for the decision on Jamaluddin. I reiterate that the MCA will not intervene in the case and that the matter will be fully handled by the management," added Chua.

Chua reiterated that the new MCA leadership would not interfere in the operations and management of The Star and the 988 radio station as Star Publications, as a listed company, has an independent management and the professional team should be left to make their operations decisions.

"I also believe that the media group should not be used or abused for any individual agenda," said Chua.

Meanwhile, the MCMC has also issued a statement today, stating that Star RFM's 988 FM radio station was being investigated by the MCMC for breach of licence conditions following several complaints it received on the morning programme.

The commission said it had received a complaint against the content that was broadcast on Aug 13, 2010 by 988 FM which may upset the sensibilities and sentiments of races in this country.

"SKMM has also informed the station regarding the complaints received. Star RFM Sdn Bhd holds the Content Applications Service Provider-Individual (CASP-I) that requires compliance to licence conditions as stipulated in the licence; which includes prohibition on providing content which may upset the sensibilities and sentiments of any race or religion in this country," said MCMC.

MCMC said it started an investigation after evaluating the complaint and upon the completion of the investigation, the case would be referred to the attorney-general for further action.

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