Jul 24, 2008
SUARA Rakyat Pulau Pinang - the state's magazine, is a step towards fulfilling the Penang Government's dreams and hopes for the state, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The 52-page Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil publication is aimed at making Penang an inter-national city where everyone can participate in the sharing of the state’s wealth.
“We want to create a caring society and one that is fair to all. We want to let the people know the opportunities that are available in all sectors. We welcome all feedback and opinions,” he said, commenting on the purpose of the magazine.
The magazine was launched by Lim at the state legislative assembly yesterday morning.
Lim flicking through the Suara Rakyat Pulau Pinang.
State ad hoc information committee head Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said the trilingual magazine represented a voice of unity.
“We printed 20,000 copies of the first issue to be distributed free to all government agencies, village security and development committees, Rukun Tetangga sectors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“This is only a start. Of course, we will improve on the look and content later on,” he said, adding that an editorial board would be set up after the assembly sitting.
“By next month we will have an editorial board comprising members of the media, NGOs and elected representatives,” he said adding that comments and suggestions could be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For now we will have three issues a year but eventually we may progress to six issues a year before coming out with monthly copies,” he said.
Opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim described the publication as a “political propaganda”.
“I estimate each copy to cost about RM5. The state is planning to print three issues a year so that would cost about RM300,000. This money can be put to better use.
“The articles that are in the magazine have already been published in newspapers so I don’t see the point.
“Instead we should be supporting a magazine like In Penang which highlights our heritage sites and is also distributed free,” he said, adding that In Pe-nang only cost the state RM25,000 per year and yet funding had been discontinued.
He noted that the previous state government had also published magazines in three languages.
“Not all the languages are in one magazine but it is still the people's voice,” he said.
In 2002, Barisan Nasional published a bimonthly Tamil magazine, Makkal Madal (Message to the Rakyat), making it the first in the country to publish magazines in three languages – Malay, Chinese and Tamil.
Similar to the Malay and Chinese state-published magazines – Wawasan Rakyat and Hong Yuan (Vision), the magazine is to inform readers of government policies, development plans and also get feedback from the community.
Wawasan Rakyat was published in 1994 while Hong Yuan, in 1999.
All three free publications targeted similar readers of Suara Rakyat.