Neville Spykerman of the Malaysian Insider reports as follows:
The government is stepping up its efforts to sell 1Malaysia to a sceptical nation.
Senior officers from the ministry of information, communication, culture and arts were told today they were the “sellers”’ of the concept.
Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said it was up to them to drive home the message especially in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states.
Like in advertising, he said the ministry needed to create a “desire” for 1Malaysia among the people.
This desire can be created if the quality of the product was good, he said.
If this is true, then Datuk Seri Rais Yatim has completely lost the plot of what he is supposed to be doing. If he wants to run a marketing campaign, quit and join a marketing and advertising agency. And try his luck there. But he is in charge of the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Culture, which is supposed to look after those aspects in our nation and people’s interests.
In his Ministry are people called civil servants. Marketing is not in their repertoire of skills because their job is not to sell anything to anyone. They are there to regulate, develop, anaylze, enforce the law and collecting information for public dissemination relating to those respective areas. And to waste all that and heaven forbid, retrain them to market, will be a grosser neglect if not abuse of public resources.
And furthermore, to do as the Minister proposes is also a waste of public resources, not to mention time. What do the rakyat get out of it? Nothing. He is quite clear about this:
The slogan is meant to portray a more inclusive Barisan Nasional (BN) and to win back the support of non-Malays in the wake of the March 8 political Tsunami last year.
“We should be the first as members of the ministry to understand.” said Rais, adding what they would present to the people would depend on what they understood.
He stressed the underlining message of 1Malaysia is a nation united would stand while divided it would fall.
So great, public funds are being used to fund BN political campaigns. It’s so common, I suppose he didn’t feel the need to hide it. Isn’t it great that all this public expenditure of money has absolutely nothing to do with the public. So at least we know whom the Minister is really trying to impress with this show of loyalty at our expense. This is what he is reported as proposing:
Meanwhile a full scale campaign to promote 1Malaysia is already underway.
He said there would be a song to promote 1Malaysia and the government was looking for a brand sign to promote the concept.
Rais also urged the ministry to produce short documentaries along with easy-to-understand pamphlets which will be distributed to the public.
As the world is being ravaged by the financial melt down going on, as factories are closing, people are being let off, peoples houses being auctioned off, the rise of crime being prevalent everyday, as our money gets us less bang for the buck, the Minister has the audacity to tell us that he intends to spend public money ‘selling’ silly political rhetoric which will be out the moment someone new is in. I suppose the private sector will come in somehow to the enrichment of certain parties.
What about a full scale campaign to teach people to be more civic minded, to be more caring of their environment or teach them how to be safe and secure, or how to plan financially for free? What about a documentary on our common heritage to foster better relations between the communities? What about a government program to discover, nurture and promote local talent? This is why I think he is not doing his job.
Datuk Seri Rais Yatim likes to think himself a lawyer, but here makes the mistake common to those ignorant of constitutional and administrative duties. Just to recap for those who don’t remember or didn’t know, the Minister before his ascension to political revival did his doctoral dissertation published in 1995 as Freedom Under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy, which he later dismissed as merely an intellectual exercise. So he should know that he should not use his public office for party purposes. But then what do i know? I’ve never been a Minister and a high ranking party person at the same time, maybe the two hats do look the same and its easy to get confused. And this bit is classic:
However, he urged his officers to first understand the concept of 1Malaysia before attempting to explain it.
With such strict adherence to the fundamentals, how can you not feel confident that he would make careful use of public resources and ensure that it is for the public’s interest?