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RTM Tagalog station closes after nearly 50 years

An international radio station run by Radio Televisyen Malaysia in the Philippine language Tagalog has ceased operations after nearly 50 years.

The station, Suara Malaysia-Tagalog, was launched in October 1973 and operated by Radio Malaysia Sabah as part of the Voice of Malaysia, RTM’s international service.

Originally broadcast from a transmitting station near the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, it became an online-only station in 2011. It went to air for two hours each evening.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the government had made the decision to terminate it for several reasons.

“Initially, the radio station was established to broadcast on the Malaysian government’s policies to bolster ties between Malaysia and the Philippines, particularly for listeners in the southern part of the country.

“However, the decision to terminate the radio station was taken after considering several justifications, especially since it was not an effective platform to communicate information due to poor listenership.

“The station also fell short of achieving its original objective and the Foreign Ministry found that it no longer played an important role in contributing towards diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Philippines.”

Mr Annuar said its closure would save costs for RTM Sabah and resources could be channelled to improve other services in the East Malaysian state.