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973) MALAY MAIL 3/11/13-Utusan blames dwindling ads on GLCs that use ‘racist’ media agencies
07 Nov 2013

A Malaysian man reads a newspaper outside a shop in downtown Kuala Lumpur on October 10, 2012. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — Utusan Malaysia has blamed
government-linked companies (GLCs) for using allegedly “racist” advertising
agencies that placed a low priority on advertisements in Malay-language
newspapers, claiming that it would affect the national language.
In an opinion piece under the name of Awang
Selamat, the moniker used to represent the Umno-owned paper’s collective
editorial voice, Utusan suggested that such GLCs were risking the “sovereignty”
of the national language in the local advertising industry by opting to take
their business to English-language and vernacular newspapers.
Utusan also suggested that consumers should
withdraw their support from such GLCs.
“Awang is worried thinking about the future of the
national language in the advertising industry including through the mass media.
What is more when touching on the attitude of GLCs that no longer prioritise
advertisements for the Malay-language papers,” it said in its column published
in its Sunday edition called Mingguan Malaysia.
Utusan claimed that many of the leaders of GLCs had
handed over decisions on advertisements to the advertising industry, which in
turn have many “racists” and foreigners calling the shots.
“They give up the determination of advertisements,
for example, to the industry, especially the agencies that are mostly
controlled by expatriates, racists and liberals that are not bertunjangkan
(based on) the Constitution,” it said.
Although Utusan noted that advertising agencies
often say that their choices are based on commercial considerations, the Malay
paper said such a justification could be open to “manipulation”.
Utusan also cited Malaysian Muslims Consumers
Association (PPIM), which it said had questioned several GLCs involved in the
banking and telecommunications industry for their alleged lack of
advertisements in Malay-language papers.
“Among the names mentioned are Celcom, CIMB and
Petronas. CIMB, for example, although the majority of consumers are Malays,
puts more advertisements in English papers and vernacular papers.
“Awang’s feelings of loyalty towards Celcom have
also abated. There are many choices. Why continue supporting GLCs that are weak
in the agenda of upholding the national language and strengthening the
Bumiputera’s economic empowerment?” it said.
The Umno-controlled paper also agreed with PPIM’s
leader Nadzim Johan who had purportedly voiced his view that these GLCs had
richly rewarded media outlets with anti-government reports.
“Media that were excited over carrying the
aspirations and the agenda of those who want to topple the government, were
given lucrative rewards via advertisements by GLCs,” it quoted Nadzim as
saying, with the activist also reportedly saying that the advertising profits
would then be used as “weapons to threaten and weaken the government”.
“Awang agrees with Nadzim. The message is that GLCs
have empowered the wrong quarters because they have allowed themselves to
become trapped in a vicious cycle that has been dicaturkan (planned) by the
advertising industry. Obviously we did not learn the lesson,” Utusan concluded
while continuing to blame the advertising agencies.
According to Awang Selamat, AmResearch’s latest
findings showed that advertising expenditure (adex) for Malay-language papers
had fallen by 1.8 per cent until this September, despite a growth of 3.7 per
cent in the adex for the industry.
Citing RHB Research, it said that the adex for
Malay-language papers this September had fallen by 26 per cent compared to the
same period last year, with RM154 million dropping to RM116 million.
This is in contrast to the Chinese-language papers
and English-language papers’ adex growing by 8.9 per cent and 7.2 per cent,
Utusan said.