29th May, 2013
KOTA KINABALU: Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Siringan Gubat has vowed to continue with the efforts of his predecessor to fight for individual ownership of satellite parabolic disc antenna in Sabah.
“The previous minister (Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai) had done something towards this (freedom for individual ownership of satellite disc in Sabah) and we would continue with the effort.
“I see no reason why we should stop from pursuing this, as the State Government also supported it, as it would greatly benefit our people especially those in the remote rural areas,” he told reporters at his office in Wisma Bandaraya here yesterday.
Dr Yee had in late last year called on the Federal Ministry to immediately resolve the satellite parabolic disc issue that is affecting Sabah, citing that it clearly violates the people’s right to knowledge and information.
He stressed that the Ministry concerned should be considerate and relax the requirement for Malaysians to have ownership of a parabolic disc, especially in Sabah, where there are still very limited, if not poor, access to knowledge and information due to its geographical conditions and so on.
Dr Yee’s call was supported by Mohan Singh, Chairman of Consumer Affairs and Protection Society of Sabah (CAPS) Kota Kinabalu, who said the Federal Ministry concerned is supposed to be wise enough to know that the present law on parabolic disc has created a monopoly by a company which controls the country’s market as every Malaysian now has to subscribe to its services if they want to watch television.
Mohan also asked the Federal Government and Ministry concerned to be open-minded and allow people to have unlimited access to knowledge and information in line with the country’s aim to become a developed nation.
Siringan meanwhile recalled that during his tenure as Ranau MP he too had raised the said issue in the parliament and even discussed it with the former Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang.
Siringan noted that based on an explanation given in the parliament the Government actually can give an approval to individuals to own a satellite parabolic disc.
He further noted that the Ministry concerned still do not have power to confiscate the parabolic discs and only the Custom Department have such a power because it is something to do with importation.
“But I agree with that especially Sabah and Sarawak should be given the freedom on this because of our geographical conditions and the huge area that we have.
“Even in my area itself, in Ranau, there are still many areas where the people are still watching blurry TV, even TV1 and TV2…like this how can we have a knowledge-based community (k-community),” he said.
He maintained that the Federal Government should consider allowing every individual, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, the chance to own parabolic disc.
“It would not be very good for the Federal Government image if it continue to allow just one company to monopolise on the use of satellite parabolic disc while at the same time it is enforcing the Malaysia Competition Act 2010,” he said.