DJ disciplined for an act which he never did
JJ was on duty on the the 20th of March 2012. He was taking phone calls for the programme as usual, when I made my call. Like all others that day, I asked permission while on the air to be allowed to give my message. JJ allowed me to do so. My message on the radio was simple and short, inviting all those from the Baram District to an open discussion. Since I did not give any details of the discussion, there was no way that the DJ could tell what the discussion was about. The invitation was very short, just three sentences. JJ did not have an interview with me as claimed by those who made the accusation. I can get listeners to testify to all what I said on the air that day.
Even though it is very clear from the above mentioned, the administrative authority of the RTM in Kuching and Miri were pressured to take disciplinary action against JJ. The pressure came from politicians joining forces with a senior officer from the State Secretariat. Knowing the nature of the broadcast and to avoid drastic and permanently damaging action the RTM authority took some measures, which are as follows:
(1) Taking JJ off the air from the Kenyah section while he could still serve as DJ in the Malay section in RTM Miri.
(2) Direct phone call-in broadcast on the air for Kenyah section in Miri is now stopped. Messages are now given to and read out by a Kenyah DJ. (Take note that this service is critical for the communities who live in areas without other means of communication.)
However, these measures which are already taken do not seem to be enough to satisfy the rage of one politician and the senior officer from the State Secretariat. Now they pressured the RTM administration to transfer JJ to another town, Bintulu, where there is no Kenyah radio service. He is told to report for duty in Bintulu almost immediately.
JJ is a very popular DJ and much talked about by those who listen to him on the air in the Kenayh broadcast and the Malay service. He is also a popular Master of Ceremony and announcer at functions in and around Miri. He was the pioneer who started the Kenyah Radio Program for RTM. RTM Miri is the first to have a scheduled Kenyah language broadcast ever and anywhere. At the moment RTM has only one other permanent staff serving in the Kenyah section. JJ’s transfer will be a lost for the Kenyah community as a whole, particularly those in the rural areas. JJ’s signature slogan now popular throughout the Miri Division is “Bichem Bichem”.
It is so sad that the politicians and the officer from the State Secretariat who put the pressure on the RTM administration are of Orang Ulu ethnics. The Kenyahs who with JJ are losing out due to this are also of the Orang Ulu group. The zeal of the people concerned for the so called disciplinary action is a clear case of abuse of power; it is done without the required procedure. On behalf of JJ and our Kenyah community I would like to request the politicians and civil servants to act with caution and be more humanely in their work. Above all, politicians should not interfere with the administration of government just like the government servants should not be involved with active politics. If the politicians have the wellbeing of the people in their hearts they should withdraw all the actions taken against JJ, which affect the Kenyah community as a whole and Miri RTM radio listeners in general.
Peter N. J. Kallang
Chairman SAVE Rivers.
H/phn: +6013 833 1104