Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ministers’ media gaffes caused by their being out of touch with the people

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ministers’ media gaffes caused by their being out of touch with the people

It is reported today that to avoid more gaffes which have made his Cabinet a laughing stock, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib has directed mandatory media training for the Cabinet members. 

This must be the first time whereby Cabinet Ministers in Malaysian history have been asked to undergo media training so that they can speak sensibly. This decision is a laughing stock itself. 

Undoubtedly, a few Ministers have recently made remarks which have embarrassed the government and angered the public. 

But the question is –is it just because they don’t know who to speak to the media? 

I don’t think so as I think the real cause is because the Ministers are out of touch with ordinary people.
When a Minister is out of touch with the ordinary voters, he will not understand the people’s problems, feelings and needs. He cannot look at issues from the people’s perspective. 

There are two classic examples whereby the Ministers are so obviously out of touch with the people.

First being the remarks made by Minster in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar that the people should stop eating chicken if the prices were too high and to use alternative roads if they did not want to pay toll on highways. 

The second example is the kangkung gaffe committed by the Prime Minister himself. 

Datuk Seri Najib obviously did not understand the pressures of cost of living and price hikes faced by the people.

 Did he really think that the people can just eat kangkong everyday or that the people must really feel thankful to the government because price of kangkong has gone down when cost of living has gone up? 

How could the Prime Minister who has often shouted the People First slogan make such insensitive remarks? 

The answer could only be that he is out of touch with the people and the ground. He simply does not understand the public feelings.

In any case, the government should be reminded that if media consultants are engaged to train the Ministers, the Ministers must pay for the course out of their own pockets in line with the austerity measures recently announced. 

When Ministers cannot even speak sensibly, they surely need to learn and improve. But that is their personal problem. The people should not be made to pay for Ministers to learn to how to speak to the media.

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