Opposition MPs question PN on advertorials

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Two opposition lawmakers have questioned Perikatan Nasional on several “self-praising” advertisements.

Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching pointed to two advertorials published in the printed edition of Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily. An advertorial is typically a paid advertisement dressed up to look like editorial or news content.

One ran yesterday and featured glowing praise for the government’s latest Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia (Permai) stimulus package.

The other was published back on Nov 21, 2020 and comprised positive reviews of Budget 2021 initiatives.

She questioned how much taxpayers’ money had been spent on these advertisements.

 “How many more paid advertorials have 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 advertisements alleviate people’s suffering? Do advertisements put food on the table, create jobs, or stop businesses from closing? The PN government must come clean and explain itself to taxpayers,” Teo said in a statement today.

The DAP lawmaker further questioned why the online versions of these advertorials were not labelled as such.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin similarly raised questions about the Jan 20 advertorial in Sin Chew Daily on his Facebook page.

The PKR politician also shared a Jan 20 article from English newspaper The Star titled “All-round approval for latest Covid-19 relief measures” that featured comments from several people on Permai.

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The article did not appear to be labelled as an advertorial.

Sim suggested that government agency J-kom was involved.

“Looks like another ‘government congratulates the government’ advertisement.

“Come on, Jasa or J-kom. You can do better!” he remarked.

During Budget 2021, PN had controversially allocated RM85.5million to revive the Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

Jasa is most well-known for organising positive publicity campaigns for 1MDB during the former BN administration. It was also accused of being a public-funded propaganda arm of Umno.

PN later slashed Jasa’s budget by almost half to RM45million and rebranded it as Jabatan Komunikasi Komuniti (J-kom). It is now parked under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry. – Malaysiakinicongratulatesbe proud ofMore (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)