KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The country’s first free-to-air (FTA) high-definition channel, TV Al-Hijrah, will start broadcasting in December with an initial government allocation of RM60 million and Felda expected to pump in another RM100 million.
Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom told reporters today that the government’s initial allocation for the “Islamic lifestyle channel” was RM60 million.
“All of the television’s funding is from the government but we hope that revenue from advertisements will be able to fund the operation of the TV station. At the initial stage, the government has allocated RM60 million,” he told a press conference.
The TV station will begin operations on November 1 and will start broadcasting from December 1.
The Islamic lifestyle channel is owned by Alhijrah Media Corporation, a company incorporated under the Prime Minister’s Department and is led by former TV9 chief operation officer Bukhari Che Muda.
Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chief Tan Sri Yusoff Nor was also appointed the media company’s chairman in October last year.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Yusof has provided an additional funding of RM100 million from Felda for the TV station.
Earlier, Jamil (picture) said the station was still in negotiations with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to gain more broadcast spectrum.
“TV Al-Hijrah will broadcast to the whole nation as a free-to-air television with initial coverage to include the Klang Valley, Terengganu, northern and eastern Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. These areas have received spectrum allocation from MCMC. TV Al Hijrah is currently applying and negotiating with MCMC to get more spectrum to expand its broadcast, specifically to other states in the peninsula,” he said.
He added that TV Al Hijrah is a government initiative to establish a channel based on Islam and provide an Islamic perspective through its programmes.
“TV Al-Hijrah is not only for Muslim viewers but also non-Muslims. However for Muslim viewers, TV Al-Hijrah provides various programmes that will give viewers an opportunity to deepen and broaden their knowledge and understanding of Islamic teachings,” he said.
TV Al-Hijrah is currently in negotiations to broadcasts its programmes on Astro and Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s IPTV service HyppTV.
According to documents made available to The Malaysian Insider, the programme schedule will divided into six main segments. They are for children and teenagers, women, entertainment and reality, academic and education, news and documentaries, drama and films, sports and recreation, and forums.
However, the bulk of the programming will be documentaries (32 per cent), spiritual shows (20 per cent) and talk shows (17 per cent).
Al-Hijrah will have its own news segments with local and international news reports “without the influence of western perceptions”.
The news segment will also give priority to reports related to Islam and “spread the policies and aspirations of the government.”
Al-Hijrah also plans to have a segment dedicated to the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
The channel will provide live coverage from Mecca and broadcast the movement of the pilgrims in the holy city.
The launch of Al-Hijrah was postponed after it was scheduled to be launched in December last year.
The channel also awarded KUB Telekomunikasi Sdn Bhd a RM29 million contract to provide equipment and engineering services for the high-definition digital broadcast centre due for completion at the end of this month.
The channel will be under the jurisdiction of the minister for Islamic affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department and will be equal to other agencies under the department like Jakim, Yadeim, Yapeim and Tabung Haji.