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‘Unwise’ to broadcast Olympics ‘live’ regardless cost consideration? Grace Fu is ‘unconvincing’ says Goh

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Sports Minister Grace Fu yesterday stood by her earlier statement that the non-telecast of of “live” action from Rio should be a “commercial one”.

Responding to an adjournment motion filed by Nee Soon GRC MP Ms Lee Bee Wah, Ms Fu said: “It is therefore a sound and rational approach to leave the negotiation of broadcast rights to Mediacorp and the pay-TV operators.” Adding: “It would be unwise to take the position that we should have live telecasts regardless of cost, and for the Government to underwrite any amount demanded by rights owners.”

In early August, Ms Fu justified the delayed telecast saying that “it’s 30 hours away and the time zone is a bit different”, so many Singaporeans “will try to catch up and watch the Games at a later time.”

But once Mediacorp announced an eleventh-hour deal with rights holder Dentsu to broadcast the Olympic Games live in Singapore a few days later, she was quoted as saying: “happy to hear that Singaporeans will be able to catch our athletes “live” in action at Rio on Mediacorp, now that the commercial partners have reached a deal.”

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Ms Lee expressed the concerns of many Singaporeans in parliament yesterday about how close Singaporeans were to missing out on live broadcast of watching national swimmer Joseph Schooling win Singapore’s first Olympic gold.

Ms Fu acknowledged the unique ability of sport to bind a community, but said that costs have taken an upward trend.

Responding to Ms Fu’s statement on costs being a consideration for Government co-funding live telecast of Olympics, Secretary-General of the People’s Power Party, Goh Meng Seng, said that “for someone who had defended that $410K rubbish bin consultancy fee to say this is really ironic and unconvincing!”

Mr Goh was responding to Ms Fu’s Ministry’s justification for building an expensive rubbish bin centre. The Auditor General’s Office Report rapped the National Arts Council (NAC) for spending $410,000 in consultancy fees to construct a $470,000 rubbish bin centre.

MCCY explaining the “exceptionally high” consultancy fee said that when approval was sought to draw down the funds, it did not use the normal method (a percentage of the construction cost), but benchmarked the fee for building the bin centre against other more complex projects, which was why the fee was high.

It further said: “the construction of the bin centre for this project was more complex and required significantly more design expertise, technical consultancy services and effort to coordinate with multiple parties.”

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