Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today blasted government-linked companies (GLCs) for not placing more advertisements in Malay-language newspapers.
In an opinion piece in its weekend edition, Mingguan Malaysia, it said many leading GLCs seemed to be losing their identities and forgetting the real reason for their existence.
The article, written by columnist Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for its collective editorial team, said GLCs left the advertising decisions to agencies which, it alleged, are mostly controlled by “expatriates, racist groups and liberals who are ignorant of the Constitution”.
“Often, the excuse for this was that it was due to commercial consideration. The question is how can we base the future and sovereignty of the national language to these expatriates and groups?” he asked.
Awang drew attention to a Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lecturer, Associate Professor Mohamad Md Yusoff, who had made the call to create a National Advertising Policy (DPN) which, among others, advocates the control of the advertising industry to uphold the national language.
“If Awang is not mistaken, this is not the first time Mohamad made such a call but to date, there was no response from any parties,” he said.
He pointed to the latest study by AmResearch on advertising expenditure (Adex) for Malay dailies which recorded a drop of 1.8% as of September this year, although the overall industry registered a growth of 3.7%.
A study by RHB Research found that for September alone, the Adex for Malay newspapers decreased by 26% to RM116 million compared to RM154 million for the same month last year.
In contrast, the Chinese and English dailies registered an increase of between 8.8% and 7.2% respectively.
“Awang is worried thinking about the future of the national language in the advertising industry, including those in the mass media,” he said.
He said the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association had also questioned a few banks and telecommunications companies under GLCs that seldom advertise in Malay newspapers.
The association had singled out Celcom, CIMB, Malaysia’s second largest bank by assets, and state oil company Petronas, noting that although the majority of CIMB’s clients are Malay, the bank is more prone to advertise in vernacular and English dailies.
Because of that, Awang said, he was no longer a loyal Celcom customer.
"The choices are vast. Why support GLCs that do not place priority on the sovereignty of the national language and empowerment of the Bumiputera agenda?"
He said the association had come to a disturbing conclusion when it discovered that some GLCs gave more advertisements to anti-government media during the 13th general election.
Awang agreed with the association’s chief activist, Nadzim Johar, who had alleged that the anti-government media was passionate in promoting the aspirations and agenda of certain quarters aimed at bringing down the government.
Awang agreed with Nadzim, GLCs have been promoted by the wrong parties and allowed themselves to be trapped in a vicious cycle by the advertising industry. “It’s obvious we did not take any lessons from it.”
It just over a month after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pitched for companies and government agencies to advertise in the Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, Putrajaya has now made a U-turn on the call.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, in a parliamentary written reply recently, said the federal government had never recommended that Utusan be given priority for advertisement purposes.
"The government only stressed that advertisements be placed in main newspapers in Malaysia so that the message can achieve its objective," he said in a written reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru) in Parliament.
When officially opening Utusan's new headquarters on September 13, Najib had said newspaper companies cannot rely solely on circulation to stay in business and that advertising was needed to keep the 75-year-old newspaper afloat.
"I hope all government agencies, GLCs and private companies, especially those owned by Bumiputeras, will show their support by giving more advertisements to Utusan. Only this will help keep Utusan on track," the prime minister was reported as saying.
His call was soundly criticised by the DAP, which said it was another example of Putrajaya wasting taxpayers’ money in an attempt to bail out the paper.
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said then that Najib’s call showed that the paper had lost readers due to its racist stand
Why not large cooperation wants to advertise in Utusan? -
The Main reason : Who want to be associated with a non-credible yet racist media?
Pui on you Awang , you are worse than a beggar! Nobody wants to waste money advertising in your useless toilet paper all thanks to your racists, lies and spinning of untrue stories.
One day this useless toilet paper will go bankrupt all because of Awang Selamat and Riduan Abdullah reportings. The only way this useless toilet paper will survive is due bailouts from UMNO using the hard-earned taxpayers money. Shame on you!!
Utusan is desperate! Even need PM to sell its papers. I for one won't buy anything that's advertise in the paper.
Advertising with Utusan is not cheap, but why waste money advertise on a paper which was rejected by all MALAYSIAN that have brains (Malays, Chinese, Indian, Others.....). I do believe the price for advertise in Utusan will be cost double or even more that other papers which was hot sellers......