21st January 2021
How much money has the PN Government spent on paid advertorials for self-praise and to boost its popularity?
Page 4 of the Sin Chew Daily National Edition on January 20 was very interesting. The headline of the article said, “Rakyat welcomes the PERMAI Assistance Package, thank you Government for launching the assistance package AGAIN.” Out of 23 Malaysians interviewed and quoted, all praised the PERMAI Assistance Package announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on January 18 2021.
“Government congratulates government” paid advertorial on pg. 4 of Sin Chew Daily National Edition dated 20.1.2021
However, the front page of Sin Chew Daily Johor Edition on the same day sang a different tune. The headline of the Johor Edition front page said, “Businessmen and Rakyat: Too little too late, PERMAI Assistance Package unlikely to ease burden.”
Front page of Sin Chew Daily Johor Edition dated 20.1.2021
One might wonder, why is the sentiment of Johorians so different from the 23 people interviewed and quoted by Sinchew’s National Edition? Did the PERMAI Assistance Package leave out Johorians? Or is it because Johorians are just extremely difficult to please?
A close scrutiny of the aforementioned page 4 will answer these questions. I’m not sure how many readers have noticed, but it says that the content of that article is “news information” (“新闻资讯”) at the top left corner of the page. In other words, the content is actually a paid advertorial.
That same article can be found online. However, I did not see any caveat stating that it was a paid advertorial.
There was another article published online by Sin Chew Daily on 21 November 2020. Its headline was, “Budget 2021: Aid comes in the nick of time and is of great help!” This time, Sin Chew interviewed and quoted 36 Malaysians. All of them gave positive comments about the budget. Again, there was no caveat stating that this article was a paid advertorial.
The article was later printed on page 4 of the Sin Chew Daily National Edition on November 22. This time, it was stated at the top left corner that the content was “news information”, ie. once again a paid advertorial.
Another paid advertorial by PN on pg. 4 of Sin Chew Daily National Edition dated 22.11.2020
How many more paid advertorials has PN put up in Sin Chew Daily and other media? And how much of taxpayers’ hard-earned money has PN lavishly spent on self-praise and to shiok sendiri?
Other than selfishly boosting its own popularity and creating a feel-good factor, what purpose does it serve in putting up such advertisements? Do ads alleviate the people’s suffering? Do ads put food on the table, create jobs, or stop businesses from closing? The PN government must come clean and explain itself to taxpayers!
Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai