Perkeso contribution boosts stringers' confidence in fieldwork

KUCHING: The Social Security Organisation (Perkeso) contributions to part-time media practitioners nationwide provide confidence and assurance to this group especially when working in the field.

Media Prima Berhad News and Current Affairs group editor Kamaruddin Mape said that this effort is timely, thereby demonstrating the government's concern in safeguarding the welfare of part-time media practitioners or 'stringers' in Malaysia.

"At Media Prima Berhad, most of these stringers are based in state bureaus and involve cameramen, so there are about 100 or more of our staff who will benefit from this nationwide.

"Sometimes they have to face challenges in terms of their safety in the field when reporting, for example during floods, fires, and other disasters," he told Bernama here yesterday (May 27).

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced yesterday that the ministry through the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), will cover the contribution for one year starting July 1.

Kamaruddin said the eagerly awaited good news would undoubtedly alleviate the burden on part-time workers, especially when they are affected by disasters while carrying out their duties.

"We hope the government can consider covering not only for one year but at least for two to three years," he said.

Director-general of Broadcasting Datuk Suhaimi Sulaiman said that the initiative is expected to raise awareness among part-time media workers to contribute to Perkeso themselves in the future.

"For RTM, we have an estimated number of part-time media practitioners in the hundreds, and we always remind them, especially those who are hired on piecemeal basis or stringers, to make this contribution themselves even before the minister's announcement.

"So, they must be prepared to contribute themselves after this because this assistance is only for a year, we must start looking at awareness to help ourselves," he said.

Meanwhile, a freelance broadcasting journalist from Astro Awani Borneo, Adilah Sulaiman, 28, said the government assistance provides a safety net while working in the field, especially in high-risk locations.

"Previously, I was worried when assigned to the field such as joining enforcement operations at sea because there was no guarantee of personal protection," she said.

For Utusan Malaysia stringer in Penang Iqbal Hamdan, 32, he is now more enthusiastic about performing daily tasks, including involvement in challenging and risky assignments such as crime reporting.

Kelantan Media Club (Kemudi) president Yatimin Abdullah said that the provision of this social safety net facility is considered a great recognition of the duties, roles, and sacrifices of part-time journalists. — BERNAMA

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