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RTM and Info Dept to provide facilities to clarify fatwa

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 Nov 2008: Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) and the Information Department are ready to provide time for quarters concerned to provide clarification to the people about ‘fatwa’ (edicts) issued in the country, said Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said RTM and the Information Department had the infrastructure and the facilities to enable the parties concerned with fatwa issued to provide clarification.

Speaking to reporters after attending his ministry’s Quality Day 2008 function at Auditorium Perdana at Angkasapuri here today, Ahmad Shabery said what was important was to give additional and clear information on edicts issued.

“We want the parties concerned…Jakim and the like to articulate the fatwa concerned and RTM and the Information Department will provide the infrastructure  so that information is delivered to the grassroots clearly,” he said when asked how RTM could play a role to explain the fatwas issued to the people, including non-Muslims.

Recently, two fatwas issued on tomboy behaviour and yoga had evoked various reactions, including from non-Muslims.

On bloggers and blogs, Ahmad Shabery said the government did not propose to have laws to restrict or control them as done in some countries but the government always monitored them.

“I feel the government is not proposing to do that as maybe the number of naughty persons who abuse the facility is not big…one or two per cent only of the total in the blogging world.

“So it is not fair that because of one or two per cent of them that we have legislation that makes it difficult for all,” he said.

On the steps taken by the government to face the global economic crisis, Ahmad Shabery said Malaysia had not seen large work lay-offs as in Western countries like the United States where the number of people who sought aid and social benefits was at its highest in 16 years.

“We don’t hear of that in our country as our economic system is better established and the government’s preparation is far better than that of the Western countries,” he said.

On digitalisation efforts, Ahmad Shabery said with only two channels, RTM could only cater to 50 or 60 film producers whereas the number of producers registered with RTM was 420.

“We hope that with greater digitalisation…at some time there will be about 1,200 producers. If each producing firm employs (about) 50 workers there will about 53,000 job opportunities in three years to come,” he said.

He said his ministry was also striving to establish a local-content fund to have all those in the production and creative-content industries to come together to plan on expansion as the focus now was on developing a creative industry economy.

Ahmad Shabery also said his ministry’s sixth place among 27 ministries, in the ‘star rating’ done by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) was encouraging and an indication that the ministry was still relevant and needed.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Ahmad Shabery said with hard work, team work and high quality, it was not impossible for the ministry to leap to first place in the MAMPU rating.

He said the ministry’s staff must ask how far their work and roles as agents of change had succeeded in bringing change in society in the war on corruption, in reducing crime and instilling good values.

“We must know how to quantify quality in doing our jobs,” he said. — Bernama


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