Astro should disassociate itself from Berita 7:57/Awesome TV

SATELLITE pay TV operator Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd should boycott with immediate effect Awesome TV and its Berita 7:57 from airing on its Channel 123 after the latest ruckus of disseminating malicious content via its news bulletin.

It has gone viral that Berita 7:57 has through one of its recent news bulletin hurled serious defamatory remarks on Securities Commission (SC) executive chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Syed Jaafar Albar by accusing him of failing to help Bumiputera companies out of their doldrums.

With the spotlight on two ailing global oil & gas (O&G) outfits specifically Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd, Berita 7:57 claimed that the ex-head honcho of the capital market regulator and his team should have helped both companies as they are the backbone of the Bumiputera economy.

Initially describing Syed Zaid as a non-Malay, the news bulletin went on to accuse the former of being unsympathetic towards Bumiputera companies.

Also on the firing line was the non-Bumiputera business community with Berita 7:57 insinuating that despite forming 67% of the Malaysian population, Bumiputera only hold 7% stake in the country’s economy while the Chinese – despite only making up 21% of the population – controls 80% of the economy.

“If these Bumiputera companies are not helped, the Bumiputera will lose whatever stakes they have in the economic pie,” Berita 7:57 pointed out.

At the outset, the Malaysian media industry has to stand up to jointly boycott Awesome TV and Berita 7:57 as the irresponsible behaviour of the TV station should not be condoned.

Syed Zaid should consult a lawyer on his position or even lodge a police report to clear his name from the gross misreporting by the TV station.

At a glance, it can be imagined that the TV station’s racist and inflammatory-laced propaganda is targeted at specific audience for vote canvassing – namely rural folks who are oblivious of the country’s corporate affairs or state of economic developments – all in anticipation of the forthcoming 15th General Election (GE15).

Awesome TV’s ownership

Instead of intending to ruin the reputation of Syed Zaid and the SC – presumably as a tit-for-tat rebuttal for putting Serba Dinamik in hot soup with the market regulators which also includes Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd – little did Awesome TV know that its action has actually backfired badly on investor perception of both Sapura Energy and Serba Dinamik.

Blame it on Awesone TV if global investors continue to perceive Bumiputera-listed entities as lame and incompetent businesses that are unable to survive on the basis of meritocracy without government crutches.

On the same note, it ought to be shared that Awesome TV bears a Serba Dinamik link vis-à-vis its managing director Johan Ishak who was previously an independent non-executive director (INED) of the company for a six-month spell between June and November last year.

Johan who was appointed to his position on June 18 had resigned alongside chairman Datuk Illyas Pakeer Mohamed on Nov 24 on grounds that the requirements imposed by Bursa Malaysia on Serba Dinamik had prohibited them from fairly discharging their duties as independent directors.

Meanwhile, Awesome TV is a free-to-air Malaysian television channel owned by Awesome Media Network Sdn Bhd.

The channel features first-run local original productions and foreign contents. Awesome TV started its trial broadcast on July 28, 2020 while its full operation commenced on Aug 3 that year.

Apart from Astro Channel 123, Awesome TV can also be watched for free nationwide via myFreeview platform on Channel 112.

With the tagline Rakyat Keutamaan Kami (The People is Our Priority), Berita 7:57 goes on air daily from 7.57pm to 8.30pm with the operation of the newsroom being spearheaded by Sofwan Mahmood as the head of news operations.

According to his Linkedin profile, Sofwan was previously Media Prima Bhd’s group general manager (news operations) of TV3, ntv7, 8TV, TV9 and radio networks from December 2011 to May 2019 before assuming the post of group general manager (corporate affairs, news and current affairs television network) from May 2019 to July 2020. – May 2, 2022

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