Justin Sunam Wong is a chili grower from Sabah.

I was driving home from the bank on 29 March 2012, and was listening to the radio. I was tuned in to 99.10, I am not sure which station that band belonged to but it was the only English speaking channel I could get then. That is how it is here in Beaufort, Sabah — on a good day, I can get two English speaking channels but on some days, none! I have always wondered about the inconsistent transmission, but that is for another topic.

I came to a railway crossing and a train was passing by. Hence, I had to stop with the other vehicles around to let it pass. It was a long train! So the wait was equally long. Thank god for the radio! Then a program came on air, I think it was around 2.30 pm. The lady presenter said that the program was a joint collaboration between RRI (Indonesian Radio), RTB (Brunei Radio) and RTM and I think she said the program was called Malaysia Delight.

Radio : … today, we are going to talk about Ikan Lekor … from the east coast of Malaysia…

Me : East coast of Malaysia? Hmm… She must be referring to Sabah then. We are certainly on the farthest east. Oh! They must be doing a piece on one of the towns in the east coast of Sabah. Tawau? Sandakan? Semporna? What is Ikan Lekor?

Radio : … in the state of Terengganu …

Me : %#$*exasperated*%^&*@#

Anyway, I thought nothing more of it later. I attributed it to a slip of the tongue, nobody is perfect.

Then the following day, I was watching the news at 5.00 pm, and what do I see?

I beg your pardon but I did not get the memo about Sabah and Sarawak having shrunk!

When did Pahang grew almost half the size of Sarawak?

See the differences?

Again I told myself that it could be human error. I am told that some maps sold out there have the same error also. Therefore, I think there is no “sinister” intention here. However, since you guys at RTM are the national radio and television station, I hope you guys could do better.

Millions of Malaysian follow you and you have the onus to provide accurate and factual reporting, which includes what you display on the screen.

I know someone would say that I am just being trivial but you know, sometimes, the smallest misinformation could lead to a big misunderstanding or misconception! Better nip it in the bud than let it fester. Therefore, for goodness sake, please get rid of the background image and replace it with an accurate map and get better proof-readers for your scripts.

While you are at it, it would be nice for you to issue a public apology to Sarawakians and Sabahans for your error.

After all, even our Prime Minister is not above apologizing. That is what I call leadership by example!

How har you do baino? I am a farmer from the Venice of the East, Beaufort, Sabah. If you find my writing to be a bit 'sot-sot' or 'mulau' (both mean crazy and quite akin to stupid), you can blame Marcus...

15 replies on “Open Letter to RTM: Apologise to Sabah & Sarawak”

  1. Oh and abt Malaysia's East Coast, well the sun rises in the east and its rays first hit our fine nation on the Dent Peninsula – in Sabah (for those of you who dont know where the Dent Peninsula is, it's the 'nose' on Sabah) so clearly, logically , that's Malaysia's East Coast no?

    1. Thanks for the well wishes Ilann :D. God willing you'll see my chili on the shelves of your nearest supermarket in KL soon but from the way our government is so adamant in keeping the cabotage policy, I don't think Sabah could export anything out in a competitive price :(

      1. Good rebuttal, Justin! I'm from Sarawak and equally feel the pain of discrimination that Sabahans feel. Hope you will do an article on the cabotage policy to push for its abolition. This cabotage policy is plain unfair to East Malaysians.

  2. Looks like the poor little West Malaysians have a complex about the size of their small…um..peninsular.

    1. Despite the fact that "Pantai Timur Tanah melayu/semenanjung malaysia" is more grammatically correct, but it is more often simplified as "pantai timur". especially in colloquial bahasa melayu.

      Several obvious examples:
      1. THR Gegar – with it's tagline "Permata Pantai Timur"
      2. Salam Pantai Timur – a popular sitcom on RTM1
      3. Restoran Pantai Timur – a kelantanese restaurant in Shah Alam
      4. Pantai Timur Inn – a hotel in Kota Bharu
      5. Wilayah Ekonomi Pantai Timur – an economic developement plan centred around Kelantan-Pahang
      6. Lebuhraya Pantai Timur – The east coast highway.

      or in the Malaysian news:
      1. Harakah Daily, 30 Mac 2012 – PTPTN: Mahasiswa Pantai Timur juga turun demo
      2. Berita Harian, 29.11.2011 – Bah di Pantai Timur makin pulih

      as we can see here, there is a wide use of the term Pantai Timur to refer those states compared to "Pantai Timur Semenanjung Malaysia".

    2. and yes, obviously there're the east and the west coast.

      West coast: Stretching from Perlis to Johor.
      East coast: Kelantan to Pahang.

      read the malaysian news or get a west malaysian malay friend. it is in wide use.
      (note: i'm a sabahan)

  3. Justin, you have just been dragging my frustration longer and longer eversince my childhood days. KL people never think Sabah as equal partners in the formation of Malaysia. From one of four nations ( Ahmad Daud once sang Lima Negara) Sabah had became one of thirteen States and always with the lowest of fund allocations. They always think we live on trees. Give us a break! We need change..

  4. as far as i concern, the Malaysian "east coast" (a.k.a pantai timur) does refer to the state of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. This is in contrast with East Malaysia (Malaysia timur) which largely refer to the state of Sabah & Sarawak. This is a term which widely accepted in Malaysia.

    i'm a sabahan as well btw.

    1. And it is an error, totaly wrong..need to be rectified. it supposed to be pantai timur tanah melayu/semenanjung malaysia..not malaysia..dont tell me that Sabah/Sarawak is not part of malaysia..are you saying there are east coast/west coast iun the two????

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