Monday, May 05, 2008

Live Aid

At a time when food security, minimum wage, global oil prices are issues that dominate the news and our thougts, we have parliamentarians who want to spend money to see themselves on the idiot box.

While we come the live broadcasts of Question Time, and to see ourselves act like never before, we are wondering whether the benefits is worth the cost?

Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek mentioned a monthly cost of RM3 million apart from the RM9 million paid to Telekom Malaysia for the line. RTM also spent RM1 million for three cameras in the Dewan Rakyat to cover the live proceedings.

Dudes, dudettes, there is something fishy about the cost. Especially at a time when every sen saved can go towards ameliorating the cost of staple items for the rakyat especially when it IS the rakyat's money.

Since I wasn't in Parliament - the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) is sending its lawmakers for etiquette courses on how to wave the Standing Orders Book (a little blue book not quite unlike the little blue pill called Viagra - makes you stand long long time), I have yet to read the written answer.

But this is what I think. There is only 16 days of Dewan Rakyat this session which ends May 27, so why is the production cost phenomenal?

The three cameras have already been costed, the staff cost is the normal wage cost, there is no need for additional lighting, and transmision cost is not that expensive especially when Parliament House has a 10MB internet pipeline connected by Telekom Malaysia.

Even if one has to use the huge outdoor broadcasting (OB) trucks, the transmission cost cannot be more than RM2,000 for each 10 minute block and RTM does get preferential treatment being a state broadcaster. And there is always Celcom Broadcast which has been known to provide discounts.

Therefore, apart from the King's Royal Address and the Swearing-In ceremony on the first day (did you see us? did you see us?), a 30 minute transmission of Question Time would only cost about RM6,000 or maybe slightly higher if RTM decided to use 40 minutes of time as a precaution.

Therefore, for 16 days or so, it should come to about RM100,000. And if one was to include electricity costs and maybe some miscellenous costs including tea breaks and the crappy parliament food, it still wont come to RM1 million a month.

We call upon the Minister to come clean and give us a breakdown of costs. If the transmission costs is prohibitive, the money can be used elsewhere for the good of the people or defrayed through advertising breaks.

The amount mentioned is obscene. We cannot live just by entertainment seeing our elected representatives crack absurd jokes or perform awfully on screen. Let's use the money for something better.

Therefore, in our efforts to save money for something better, the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) will not add a video to this post. Go entertain yourself with someting better ;)

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