Questions Time 15-06-2011: The Deputy Minister sounded like the public relations officer of ASTRO!

 Tuan Wee Choo Keong (Wangsa Maju) minta kepada Menteri Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaanmenyatakan:

i.  di dalam dasar kerajaan yang menghalang siaran iklan dalam program TV berbayar, mengapa ASTRO dibenarkan untuk menyiarkan iklan-iklan didalam program mereka; dan

ii.  memandangkan keuntungan tahunan bersih sebanyak RM 700 juta untuk 2010, apakah kerajaan bercadang untuk mengawal ASTRO supaya mengurangkan kos langganan bulanan yang dibebankan rakyat pendapatan rendah. 

Tuan Wee Choo Keong [Wangsa Maju] ask the Minister of Information, Multi-Media and Culture to state:

i.    in view of the government policy which prohibiting advertisements on Paid TV, why ASTRO was allowed to air advertisements in its programes; and

ii.   in view of the net yearly profits of about RM700 million for 2010 does government intends to regulate Astro to reduce the subscription fees, which is a burden to the low income group?

JAWAPAN dari YB Timbalan Menteri :

Saya mohon menjawab pertanyaan ini bersekali dengan pertanyaan daripada YB Silam dan YB Tangga Batu bertarikh 16 Jun dan 27 Jun 2011 kerana kesemua adalah berkenaan ASTRO.

Untuk makluman, Kerajaan tidak menghalang iklan di Astro. Syarat Lesen ASTRO membenarkannya untuk menyiarkan iklan komersil tidak lebih daripada iklan 10 minit bagi setiap jam di setiap saluran.  Untuk makluman, kebanyakan iklan di saluran ASTRO adalah berbentuk promosi saluran-saluran atau rancangan-rancangan ASTRO lain. Ini tidak dianggap sebagai iklan komersil kerana masa penyiaran tersebut tidak memberi pulangan kepada ASTRO.  Malahan Kerajaan turut menetapkan syarart lessen agar ASTRO menyiarkan Pengumuman Khidmat Awam (Public Service Announcement / PSA) selama 1 minit setiap jam siaran di 10 saluran.

Berdasakan pemantauan SKMM didapati ASTRO tidak menayangkan terlalu bnayak iklan komersil, malah secara purata masa iklan yang digunakan oleh ASTRO hanyalah 19% – 21% atau 46 – 50 minit daripada 240 minit masa yang dibenarkan untuk mereka menyiarkan iklan komersil dalam sehari.

Pada masa ini caj minima perkhidmatan ASTRO berada di tahap komptitif berbanding negara-negara seantau iaitu RM37.95 bagi pakej asas merangkumi 38 saluran pelbagai bahasa dan genre. Adalah didapati pakej asas ini pada asalnya ditawarkan dengan harga RM49.95 pada tahun 2004 dengan bilangan saluran yang kurang daripada pakej sekarang. Pihak ASTRO juga telah memberi komitment untuk memastikan bahawa sebarang saluran-saluran baru yagn bakal dilancarkan tidak akan meningkatkan harga bagi langganan pakej ini (RM37.95).

Selain pakej asas dan pakej keluarga ini, pihak ASTRO juga turut menyediakan beberapa pakej mini yang mempuyai 3-4 saluran. Dengan cara ini, para pelanggan tidak dibebankan dengan keperluan untuk melanggan saluran-saluran yang tidak mereka kehendaki dan boleh membuat pilihan saluran serta harga yang sesuai dengan citarasa dan belanjawan mereka sendiri.

Untuk maklumkan, bagi mana-mana perkhidmatan TV berbayar termasuk ASTRO, penetapan kos langganan adalah berdasarkan kos yagn ditanggung dalam dealam menyediakan perkhidmatan ini termasuk kos permolehan dan pembelian kandungan dan penyiaran dari pihak ketiga. Ini selaras dengna prinsip mengenai penetapan kadar yang diperuntukkan di bawah Seksyen 198 Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998.  Oleh itu, setiap kenaikan haraga dianalisa oleh pihak SKMM bagi memastikan ianya adalah tindakan yagn wajar dan munasabah, berasaskan kos dan tidak hnaya bermotifkan keuntungan semata-mata.

Note:

The Deputy Minister was answering the question like he is the representative from ASTRO.

For a start ASTRO has been seen like a company monopolizing the business of paid TV.  This is most unhealthy.  In other developed countries likeUK,Americaand Europe paid tv stations are not allowed to air tv commercial because they are collecting subscription fees from the subscribers and there are no packages like inMalaysia. The answer confirmed that there were tv commercials in the region between 19% to 21% in ASTRO.  Paid TV should not be allowed to air tv commercial at all.

Further, the programes/movies in ASTRO were repetitive and old. There were very few movies.

In 2010 the breakdown figures of the 3 million  ASTRO subscribers were as follows:

Malay   – 1.7 million

Indian   – 300,000

Chinese – 600,000

Others – 200,000

The above facts have been said in Parliament today.

My supplementary question to the Deputy Minister was:  “Saya meminta YB Timbalan Menteri menjelaskan bahawa apakah mekanisma yang digunakan untuk memastikan syarat iklan tersebut adalah dipatuhi oleh ASTRO (iaitu masa untuk iklan 10 minit dalam sejam?”    This supplementary question was not answered. Most probably, the Ministry did not do the checking and was totally replying on the figures provideds by ASTRO.

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22 thoughts on “Questions Time 15-06-2011: The Deputy Minister sounded like the public relations officer of ASTRO!

  1. Donald Lim

    As a responsible MP, I hope you do your research before you ask questions in Parliament but it seems like you have been ill-informed… America’s pay-tv operators are allowed UNLIMITED airtime for tv commercials. At least here in Malaysia, they limit it to 10 minutes per broadcast hour… I know for a fact that in Singapore it’s more than double that amount of time.

    You should be firm of your facts, sir, or you will lose credibility…

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    The ASTRO indirect monopoly must be stopped in the public interests. Now that we have competition in the telecommunication sector, the public benefited. It cost cheaper and better service.

    I agree that there are many tv commercials in Astro. Why should we pay for the commercial when we have already paid for the monthly subscription. Why are the movies repetitive? why there are no new movies?

    it is high time that the government do something to allow real competition in paid tv so that the normal people can benefit.

    Reply
  3. Double Charging

    Donald Lim you are splitting hair. Assuming you are right that Pay TV in America has commercials. How about the other facts that were brought by Wee?

    What about no broadcast when it is raining? Why there was no rebate of any kind?

    Don’t you agree that Paid Tv station should not be allowed to air advertisement? after all we have already paid for it. How about the profits that were choked up?

    There should be only one package for all. No on e with the right mind can support such organisation.

    Not only the Deputy Minister sounded like the PR man for Astro, you are also one of them.

    Carry on whacking Astro for the 3 million people.

    Reply
  4. Lam

    Break the monopoly for the sake of the subscribers. We want more paid tv so that we can get the best deal.

    Reply
  5. Danny

    What a stupid comment! just to rely on one fact and to condemn YB being irresponsible, How about the other facts. Do you know that Astro is actually a foreign owned company.?

    The people had no choice but to subscribe because Astro control all popular programes. Please fight for us to bring down the Astro charges and also stop the controls by Astro. Enough of this nonsense.

    Reply
  6. Donald Lim

    My apologies, I didn’t think it was polite to engage in a debate here in YB’s comment boxes but since you all asked for it, here goes.

    Please note that I have worked in Australia in the pay-tv industry for 15 years, so I do humbly have the benefit of knowledge.

    I have always wondered how Astro can continue to sell their sports package at such a low price, yes, I said LOW price.. because in Singapore, they pay 4 times more and Hong Kong, TEN times more than what we pay here.

    And I have also wonder how Astro continued to maintain their prices even though they’ve added HD services, PVR services and premium channels.

    So it comes as no surprise to me that they had to do this price revision. I’m just glad they didn’t touch the basic package and only affected the premium packages. So kalau sudah tak mampu, jangan langganlah.

    You want me to address your questions, Double Charging? Cann…

    1. What about no broadcast when it is raining? Why there was no rebate of any kind?
    If you only took some time to educate yourself, you’ll realize that the satellite technology (like all technology) is affected by nature. Even army submarines that rely on satellite communications, will suffer a disruption when it rains. And even your mobile phone is affected by nature, sometimes you get no coverage in hilly areas right? In some places, you can’t get your broadband service etc. Do you ask for a rebate?

    2. Don’t you agree that Paid Tv station should not be allowed to air advertisement?
    You also like our MP here, tanya soalan tapi tak dengar jawapan Menteri. All pay-tv operators all over the world, have commercials. That’s how they get to offer you all those premium and exclusive content. At least in Malaysia only 10 minutes and Astro only use 2-7 minutes. Our neighbor Singapore get 14 minutes and uses all of it!

    3. There should be only one package for all. No one with the right mind can support such organisation.
    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. You’d rather be forced to take ONE package instead of being able to choose from a variety of packages at different prices? If you miskin, you subscribe the family pack only lah. If you kaya, then subscribe the more expensive ones. This is the first time I hear about someone preferring to be given no choice instead of many choices. LOL!

    And Danny, you do realize that Astro is a premium service right? Not a keperluan asas like water, electricity, petrol etc right? If cannot afford, watch free TV lah. And these days Astro has competitors, got IPTV all. And Media Prima also has so many good programs, sometimes the latest season of series that Astro is not showing.

    Open your eyes, people. Our entertainment world should not revolve around Astro. Ifyou think their service sucks or their prices are too high, exercise your consumer right to NOT subscribe. Don’t be babies and whine for the Government to fix things for you.

    Reply
  7. The Devil

    I’m Boycott ASTRO already since 2009. Now i’m uses PARABOLA. I have 250 channel worldwide for free including porn channel.

    Reply
  8. Anti-Monopoly

    YB..Is it not enough that we have been forced to accept an answer by the minister, which very much appears as an answer prepared by Astro? Why do you allow this scumbag Donald Lim to publish his stupid comments here? He appears none other than a paid employee of Astro trying to twist the facts around?

    Is it not the fact Astro is a virtual monopoly with no satellite direct-to-home pay tv operators being allowed to operate in Malaysia?
    Is it not a fact that Malaysians cannot have the liberty to own their own satellite dishes?
    Is it not a fact, that Malaysians have been left with no choice but to subscribe for this monopoly monster to enjoy decent channels? (Dont mention Unifi as it is still in its infancy and with old telekom ppl managing it, it appears go nowhere…)
    Is it not a fact that when there is competition, prices come down drastically ..? (e.g. telephone and data charges, birth of Airasia…)

    We Malaysians are fed up of Astro and its exorbitant prices…We Malaysians want this Government to open up Satellite DTH market…We Malaysians want the Government to do away with legislation preventing private ownership of Satellite TV dishes other than the moster Astro… We hate Astro for fleecing Malaysians…

    YB…Pls do something…..

    Reply
  9. Anti-Monopoly

    If you notice on all Pro-Astro comments…it ends with something along this line …if you people not happy, then dont subscribe to Astro…If these Pro-Astro fellas are in fact paid Astro stooges, u can feel the very arrogant statement coming from them…Dont like it..leave it…

    Can you Astro dare say this in a liberalised non-monopoly environment? No…In fact, you will be begging for customers…

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I believe YB made a right move to allow Donald to publish his ‘view’ or vast market expertise in pay tv industry. Please believe in freedom of speech on the web.

    At a point , I agree with him that if you MISKIN dont subscribe . Fine but it would be nice isn’t it if we say … experiment to have 1 .. or 2 more providers? On open tender bidding .
    I have seen it with Telcos since I was using that NEC Ex , Motorola 3 batt a day till now with bloody batt consuming Iphone and practical Blackberries , allows companies to bid to license openly. We cant say now Astro the best because we got nothing to compare against.

    Well , maybe I believe Donald that Anandan is such a good Samaritan doing a ‘national duty’ to the nation by providing …( subsidized ! ) cheap rates to Malaysian . So Malaysian gov , please ease his burden to allows competitors to enter this .. unprofitable market . Mana semua our Chinese tycoon ? tada telur ka ? Funny because instead .. they enter into over crowded Telco industry with YES and Umobile. Ananda sure have massive balls that made them feels inferior.

    Oh what Donald said about rainy days , reception bla bla , yes its true . I am an engineer , I cant deny facts.

    I have younger brother . He made 30k a month as captain and never believe in the rubbish Astro been airing these days . ( Cmon , Animal Haunting on Animal Planet , that was my final straw last year ) . So he never did subscribe. Internet is the King people , not those trashes these payTV are screening . Fight for IPTV . I see more sense in that .

    Oh , by the way , great matches are free many times on indonesian and Singapore channels and you can what it FREE from Johor Bahru all the way to Muar ! Retire in JB please because my home state economy is stagnant .

    Happy arguing .

    Jamal JB

    Reply
  11. John

    Why Astro cost so high? They bought all the rights even not use it so other TV broadcasters not in the field. Then they convert the cost to consumer. Is that fair? Monopoly game.

    Reply
  12. Never Subscribed to Astro and Survived

    You people so funny. Who do you think can afford to even BE Astro’s competitor in DTH satellite provision? After so many years also Astro still suffering losses and haven’t recouped their initial investments. No one in Malaysia is that rich lah.

    Bising2 pasal monopoly, if tomorrow they take away Astro’s monopoly also, I can guarantee there will be no DTH satellite competitor in the next 50 years.

    Debate use brains and facts and give yourself a reality check lah ok. Don’t embarrass YB with the idiocy of his supporters’s comments.

    Reply
  13. Anti-monopoly

    Here comes another paid stooge of Astro. Look at his name ‘Never subscribed to Astro and Survived’. Strangely, this is the very arrogant statement of all astro stooges n he even coverted it into his nick name. All these guys are saying, ‘if u complain, don’t watch’. As if Malaysians have alternative… Say this la when u liberalise the market… Make it easy for everyone to own his own parabola dish n see how astro can still raise prices. Astro is making obscene profits and this guy claims otherwise. The only reason they may make loss because they burnt lots of money in bad investment in Indonesia as they couldnt stand competition there and in India they are alleged to have bribed USD 133 million by investing in a former Indian telecom minister’s family owned company called sun direct to home tv. All financed by Malaysian subscription..

    Reply
  14. Hj Azman AAziz

    Dear YB,

    Reference to your post on Astro intention to raise their rates, I understand the Government has rejected the increase until further notice. However, I received yesterday statement from ASTRO proceeding with the increase to RM132.95 (an increase of RM7.00)

    Can you please re-confirm YB whether I should this statement is acceptable or should be rejected too?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. weechookeong Post author

      Tuan Hj Azman Aaziz

      Thank you for your comments.

      As far as I know the Minister of Information, Multi Media and Culture has announced that the government did not approve the increment proposed by Astro.
      From this statement I would have thought that there is no increment until further notice. I will will my best to check about this.

      Thank you.

      Wee Choo Keong

      Reply
  15. Hj Azman AAziz

    Dear YB,

    Thank you for your prompt response. It is very rare nowadays to find an elected politician serving the rakyat efficiently like you do. I really look forward to your re-election as an MP for the next upcoming general election. Your assistance is very much appreciated.

    Once again, thank you very much.

    Best Regatds
    Hj Azman AAziz

    Reply
    1. weechookeong Post author

      Dear Tuan Hj Azman

      It is my first responsibility to assist the rakyat in whatever way I can. That’s why we are are called “Wakil Rakyat” in our national language – the people representative.

      I believe that the rakyat are tired of constant politicking in and out of Parliament. It is so obvious that the politicians are misleading the rakyat with their political gimmicks and the welfare of the rakyat have been put in second place.

      We must always put nation building above everything else.

      Thank you Tuan Hj for your kind thoughts. I will try at all times to do my best for this nation that we all love.

      May I wish you and your family a pleasant weekend.

      With kindest regards

      wee choo keong

      Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Yang Berhormat,

    I have received the Sept bill from Astro with the new revised rate. Has the increase rates being approved by our govt? Does Astro have the legal right to charge the new price when there is no value-add to my current package?

    We as consumers should exercise our “right” based on the Malaysian Laws, not because we are “miskin” or “anti-Astro” or “anti-govt”.

    If the Ministry has approved the price increment by Astro, the Ministry needs to give the appropriate justification to the Rakyat.

    As mentioned by YB, those statements given by the Ministry todate are too lame. If Astro cannot bear the losses, then it should give-up the bid for the exclusive right to air those programs such as EPL, etc…
    Why the Ministry needs to defend Astro which is just a usual profit-making organization? Btw, Astro’s losses were contributed by bad investment in Indonesia while it is making significant profit from Malaysia market.

    Those days before Astro existed, we enjoyed watching the World-Cup and many programs from free TV such as RTM, etc… So, why we cannot have such privilege today?

    People shall benchmark with the better and not the worse. But, we cannot compare to HK & Singapore as they are smaller than Malaysia with small administrative and income earning gap is also small. Taiwan which is similar size of Malaysia has over 100 channels with cheap subscription rates typically around NT$550 or RM55 a month. They use cable system, thus, minimum disruption during rainy season. I am so upset to come across many blogs which mentioned Malaysia is 10 years behind all these developed countries while our nation is full of natural resources, free from natural disasters and with highly educated Rakyat.

    It is very true to say Astro is not a basic need… BUT having access to such programs as provided by Astro has become an essential need for a develop nation. Our govt should come out with measurement to stop the monopoly.

    The Rakyat needs a proper govt and a proper purchasing power for a proper life. Truly “Proper” may refer to truly “Fair”.

    Lastly, I sincerely express BIG thanks to YB Wee Choo Keong for providing the needful and as a voice-out for the Rakyat.

    Regards,
    Peggy

    Reply
    1. weechookeong Post author

      hi Peggy

      Thank you for your comments.
      I am not so sure whether the Ministry of Information has granted ASTRO the approval for he increment of the subscription fee. I have tabled a question to Parliament for the Ministry to provide the answer. I will post the answer in my blog. Please rest assured that I share he your views and I will also bring the issue of monopoly during the Budget debate after 7th October. I will also bring up the MAS-AirAsia share swap, which is also a matter of public concern.

      I really am sorry for not able to provide you with an immediate answer.

      Have a nice weekend.

      Regards

      wee choo keong

      Reply
  17. Anti-monopoly

    Hi Peggy / YB, If u r not aware, Monopoly Giant Astro had already shown the middle finger to both the minister Rais n the Rakyat by sticking to the rate hike. Minister Rais talked as a hero when he demanded Astro to reduce the rates but ran with his tail between his legs when Astro retorted saying that the Minister had no power to demand so. Astro appears to have some powerful forces behind it n no one can touch it despite the good efforts of our YB. We need to do something more drastic to get Astro behave I.e. To remove this BN from Power!

    Reply
  18. namza

    I think it is time for the ministry to liberalised the industry and allow more competitors to ASTRO just like the TELCO’s. Yes, there is IPTV but their channels are very limited and without any sports program. Rakyat must be given the opportunity to choose which provider they wish – just like in GE. However, this has nothing to do with political parties in power. I reckon PR will be worst off than BN considering their empty promises.

    I look forward to reading the ministry responses during the next Parliamentary sitting on this urgent issue as well as MAS-AirAsia ‘one-sided’ swap deal. I read that Air-Asia to introduce a new low cost airline probably to rival Firefly routes.

    Reply

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