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Govt Ready To Assist BernamaTV If Problem Of Ownership Is Resolved

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GEORGETOWN – The government will continue to assist Bernama TV, provided the ‘joint venture’ company allows Pertubuhan Berita Nasional Malaysia (Bernama) to take over its shares fully.

If BernamaTV, a joint venture between the government and the private sector, has a problem in continuing the operations, it could be fully taken over by the government and could be operated by the relevant ministry, the Finance Ministry had suggested earlier.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said such a takeover however, must be in accordance with the law to avoid any disputes later.

“The government cannot be seen as using tax payers money to pay a private company which had failed in business. In this case, BernamaTV is not owned by the government but BernamaTV is a private entity.

“Until and unless the issue of ownership is resolved, the government cannot provide assistance to resolve the financial crisis,” he told reporters after opening the ‘Women’s Empowerment Across New Media’ programme, at Cahaya Siswa Complex, Universiti Sains Malaysia, here today.

Ahmad Shabery when asked whether the ‘company’ was willing to accept the takeover of shares, said the matter was still being discussed.

BernamaTV which was set up in 2008 as a 24-hour news channel was broadcast through Astro’s channel 502.

Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) general manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh had earlier explained that the BernamaTV operator did not pay the employees’ salary for January.

He said Bernama TV was owned by a joint venture company and Bernama only has a minority stake of 33% while the remainder was owned by others.

“The salary of Bernama staff who served Bernama TV is paid by Bernama without any problems. The salary of other employees are not the responsibility of Bernama and must be paid by the operator, Bernama TV Synergy Berhad (BRTV),” he had said in a statement recently.

On Feb 12, Ahmad Shabery met about 100 BernamaTV employees to discuss problems faced by the TV station. – BERNAMA

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