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Dato Sri Najib Razak Upon Taking Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2362 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1 Malaysia concept was unveiled by the incumbent Prime Minister, DatoSri Najib Razak upon taking office on 3rd April 2009. The goals to present this policy is to unite the nation, to form the equity in the economic dimension, enhance the social cohesion and also make sure the people live in harmony and peace between different races (1 Malaysia.com , 2009). According to the Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak, “Satu Malaysia” means the mutual respect between the different races in Malaysia and also to contribute to the success of vision 2020.

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According to the research done by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, conducted from 19 June 2012 until the 1st of July, there are over 75% of Malaysian aware to this policy with 23% of people agree that it help to promote the unity among races and 18% of people think One Malaysia concept is about the equitable among the different races in nation. Besides, this survey shows that 46% respondents agreed the One Malaysia policy would be able to achieve the objectives, the rest are not agree with it, which mean there are over 50% of respondent are not even aware and understand about the policy. The survey proved the majority of respondent felt that the government has successfully creating awareness on the “Satu Malaysia” concept among the nation, but this concept is not completely accepted by all the Malaysians.

As we know, mainstream media used by government to create awareness on the One Malaysia concept, and used on enhance the acceptance of the concept by the citizen of Malaysia. Mainstream media plays an important role to give information, report news and educate the audience about government policies, especially in the pluralism society like Malaysia. Mainstream media do not differentiate between our citizens on the basis of their background or ethnic origin, the media mostly deliver the message in the different languages like Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil and English. For example, there are different channels in mainstream TV channels to broadcast the news programs with different languages, even the One Malaysia programs also have different version of languages. This is to make sure all the citizens can receive the information that they can easily to understand.

The mainstream media in Malaysia like RTM, Media Prima and Bernama are controlled by government, and the alternative media like MalaysiaKini and The Insider are the popular news site to report the unvarnished news and event in Malaysia. Athough the alternative media occupy the small section of media in Malaysia, it still have a lots of audience an supporter compare to the mainstream media.

Mainstream media used to promote the One Malaysia concept, for example the newspaper as tools to publish Malaysian government propaganda. Every day, there are many newspapers published mainly in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil and English, most of them are government-controlled. Mainstream newspaper report on every stunts of the One Malaysia policy and emphasis only on the benefit of the concept and projects, it never reveal or focus on the negative side of the policy. For example One Malaysia store, one of the project by KARISMA. When the project was finally launched, the mainstream newspaper mostly report on how the 1M store can benefit to citizen and set it as headline or give the news a wide space in layout, but when the criticism arise because of the low quality of One Malaysia’s products, newspaper only publish out the news with small space or never appear. It shows the mainstream media are partial and only shows what they want to show and filtered the important information before publish out.

Another example like RTM, local television channels licensed to broadcast in Malaysia, it used by government to promote the policy too. TV station will broadcast the video clips about One Malaysia concept, for example the one Malaysia’s advertisement. For every important day like Merdeka’s Day, TV will Keep showing the One Malaysia Merdeka advertisement and “Satu Malaysia” theme song to make a strong impressive on the audience. Besides, mainstream media will report about the major event of 1 Malaysia that happen in town, for example the Sitiawan’s Chinese New year Open House. This CNY event was live broadcasted through RTM1, and it successfully gets a wide coverage in Malaysia and even the reporter of CCTV from China attended to make a live report. This event is for the CNY celebration and help to foster unity among the various races in Malaysia, by showing this event on TV, it help to promote the One Malaysia concept and also to gain support from the chinese community, so that the One Malaysia concept can be widely accepted in nation.

Nowadays, mainstream media especially free to air TV channels and radio station now losing a large numbers of audiences and readers, the credibility of mainstream media was suspected. People will not totally accept the messages of mainstream media before verify the facts through online. Most Malaysians are now become more polite and wiser to distinguish the facts, people start to search information through online, and they verify and confirm the facts before accepting the truth. One of the hot topics was the censored news of Bersih 3.0 on 28th April 2012. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and ASTRO (Malaysian pay TV station) broadcasted the two different version of news, the BBC’s original broadcast been censored and the interview of the respondent about Bersih 3.0 filtered by Astro. This video clip will not appear on the mainstream media channels like RTM1. Astro is not government-owned media, but it is indirectly control by the government. This shows that most of the media in Malaysia have no freedom, the reporting is not true and be biased towards one side which is the dominant group.

In my own opinion, although the mainstream media occupy most of the media space in Malaysia, it is not powerful enough to change people mind and influence on the behavior of citizens, this probably because of the distortion of truth and biasness of mainstream media. Nowadays, more and more people start to voice out and express themselves in cyberspace. It shows the influential power of social networking sites. The example of social networking sites like facebook, blog, twitter and YouTube are now becoming the source to get news and information, especially the unvarnished news. Most people said that the mainstream media tell lies and partial, they rather believe the alternative media instead of biased reporting.

According to the limited effects theory by Lazarsfeld, media are not powerful enough to influence on individuals which is also known as limited effect perspective. He also claims that the heavy media users were the person whose advice was being held by others. Thus, the heavy media users will become the gatekeepers and opinion leaders. Opinion leaders used to advice the followers and this is later known as the two step flow.

The Prime Minister in Malaysia, Dato Sri Najib Razak as the opinion leader and also a heavy media user, he created a website called “1Malaysia” with a tagline ” The Personal Website of Dato’Sri Najib Razak” to provide a place for open discussion and also to encourage the acceptance of One Malaysia concept by the citizens of Malaysia. The website now become one of the mainstream media in Malaysia, it always shows on the top of Google page for the keywords “One Malaysia”. He understands the influential power of internet, and also the less popular of mainstream media, he started to take part in social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and blog, all of these sites have gathered over millions of followers. Our Prime Minister act as the opinion leader not only for the real life but also in the cyberspace, this is one of the ways he used to promote the One Malaysia concept and influence his followers. This is known as two step flow. The message about One Malaysia concept share from mainstream media in Malaysia can easily reach to audience but this does not mean the mainstream media can influence people to accept the policy, the most influential things is the idea of opinion leader instead of mainstream media . Another example like the critic or commenter who bombard the biasness of mainstream media will be viewed as the nation hero and opinion leader, for example Namwee. He has a huge of followers on facebook, he act as the opinion leader to critic the biasness of media and also the BN politicians. His opinion could influence his followers because people craving of hearing the actual truth about the government leaders and policies.

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According to Lazarsfeld, media rarely had power to change people mind because it is almost always mediated by the individual differences. Individual influences in psychological make ups cause media influence to vary from person to person. Everyone has different ideas, mainstream media only can deliver the messages or information of One Malaysia concept to the citizens but not powerful enough to influence people decision, and make people accept to the concept. This is because audiences have the right to choose what to expose, this is known as selective process.

The selective process, information that is inconsistent with a person already held attitudes will create psychological discomfort or cognitive dissonance. People generally work to keep their knowledge of themselves and their knowledge of the world somewhat consistent via selective processes. People tend to avoid the cognitive dissonance after made a decision. Thus people will avoid the facts that can prove the decision was wrong, so the more potential dissonance, the more we tend to avoid. People will denial and pretend that they never seen the evidence. Because of people have right to choose what to expose in mainstream media’s messages, the One Malaysia concept cannot be completely accepted by the citizens. The mainstream media in Malaysia keep promoting the concept, but this policy might not the ideal policy to some of the citizens, they can choose to deny the message or choose to remember some part of the concept they like. In the selective process, there are three form of selectivity, for example the selective exposure, selective retention and also the selective retention.

Selective exposure, people tend to expose themselves to information that same to their pre-existing attitudes and belief. For example, the mainstream TV station RTM1 broadcast the One Malaysia program, audiences can choose not to watch the program and switch to another channels if they don’t agree with the concept or not interested to the information. This is because they obey to their subconscious and don’t want to change the pre-existing belief.

Selective retention, people tend to remember the best and interested messages that are most meaningful to them. For example, the mainstream media keep showing the benefit of One Malaysia’s projects, the IPT students only choose to remember the stunts of One Malaysia Siswa Card (KADS1M), because this project is benefit to them and help them to reduce the daily cost of living, they only pay attention and accept the message that can fulfill their demands.

Selective perception, people will change the meaning of messages so that they become consistent with pre-existing attitudes and belief. For example, When media shows the advertisement of 1Malaysia store and promote the products, audience will think purchasing 1M’product is a stupid action because in their pre-existing belief One Malaysia products are low quality and they never consider to purchase those products. These three forms of selectivity show media cannot control how audience think, how audience act and even accept to the One Malaysia concept.

The ways the mainstream media are used to promote the acceptance of the One Malaysia concept successfully creating awareness among the Malaysian, but this does not mean that people are completely admit the concept and support the idea of the policy. As we all know, the mainstream media actually under controlled by the dominant group, the government and The Barisan National. No one dare to eject or deny the government policy, they remain silence since they have no freedom to speak out the idea, and they scare to bear the consequences of against government so they choose to admit it, for example the preventive detention law. So people remain silence because they think their views are in minority but in fact there is no one to speak out their opinion. According to the Spiral of Silence theory by Neumann (1974), a people view control the public scene and others disappeared from the public awareness as it adherents became silent. People fear of being isolation and know what actions and behaviors should take to avoid their likelihood of being socially isolated. For example, some people tend to keep their negative opinion toward the government policy to themselves when they think they are in the minority. This context is called “Spiral of Silence”.

In conclusion, mainstream media in Malaysia are not powerful enough to change people mind, but it do have certain influence. Therefore, under the assumption of the two step flow process, selective process, and the Spiral of Silence theory, the messages of the mainstream media would not be able to reach the citizen directly. Thus, the effect of the mainstream media in Malaysia is considered as limited effect. In my opinion, the government has successfully creating awareness on the policy among the citizens of Malaysia through the mainstream media, but not the acceptance of the concept. The completely acceptance of the concept among nation might happen if there is no partial and biased information from the mainstream media, if media are more control by the dominant group, the less trust of Malaysia’s citizens can give to the mainstream media.


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