KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Broadcast station Awesome TV has downplayed accusation of its newscasters taking a racial tone when exhorting Malay voters to turn out in droves during Polling Day or risk being overrun by ethnic Chinese voters.
In a statement, it said that its intention was to inform Malay voters that the new government may not be to their preference and affect their welfare if they do not vote.
"The report is to reinforce responsibilities amongst Malays that they need to exercise their rights as citizens and voters. Otherwise, a government not of their preference shall rule Malaysia to the detriment of their welfare.
"That is the premise of the news reporting and it is not racist in sentiment," its spokesman said in a short statement made available to Malay Mail.
Awesome TV was responding to allegations that its news report was racist, as called out by incumbent Klang MP Charles Santiago on Twitter this morning..
In the video clip that has since gone viral, Awesome TV's Berita 7:57 newscasters had called for Malays to vote in GE15 if they did not want "other races” to gain control of political power, basing their comments on a study which showed that 80 per cent of its ethnic Chinese respondents intend to vote.
STATEMENT: This reporting is racist to the core & seems planted to create fear ahead of GE15 News must be accurate & truthful as it influences public perception. @MCMC_RASMI needs act urgently. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/TuEphj81k4
— Charles Santiago (@mpklang) November 6, 2022
However, the newscasters failed to mention nuanced details such as the fact that the ethnic Chinese voters surveyed had differing political inclinations.
The survey was carried out by Huayan Policy Institute in partnership with O2 Research Malaysia, Ilham Centre and five media outlets — Sinar Harian, The Star, Sin Chew Daily, Astro Awani and Malaysia Nanban, with 2,354 ethnic Chinese voters polled in the survey — 2,061 who answered online and 293 in-person interviews carried out in PH-held Bukit Gelugor in Penang, PN-held Sungai Besar in Selangor, BN-held Ayer Hitam in Johor.
The survey findings found that 80 per cent of the Chinese voters polled will or most likely will vote in GE15, with 9 per cent saying they will not or most likely will not vote and 11 per cent saying they were not sure.
The survey found that the ethnic Chinese respondents who were PH supporters were most likely to come out to vote at 69.36 per cent, followed by Muda supporters at 54.22 per cent, BN supporters at 49.29 per cent, and PN supporters at 39.39 per cent.
Awesome TV was already under fire in May this year for the use of racial tone with its reporting of Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd.
It had then accused Securities Commission (SC) executive chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Jaafar Albar of failing to help Bumiputera companies out of financial troubles, and initially falsely labeling him as a non-Malay.