Sunday, January 26, 2014

'Ministers need sensitivity - not media savvy lessons'

5:29PM Jan 26, 2014-Malaysiakini

'Ministers need sensitivity - not media savvy lessons'

DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran said cabinet ministers needed to be sensitive to the plight of the people rather more than lessons in being media savvy.

The MP for Ipoh Barat was alluding to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s latest instructions to his cabinet to take lessons on how to speak to the media following public gaffes by some ministers that have exposed them as being out of touch with the people.

“These gaffes have made them laughing stocks,” said the federal legislator.

“This must be the first time cabinet ministers have been asked to undergo media training as that they can speak sensibly,” observed Kulasegaran.

He rounded in on the remarks made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar that people should stop eating chicken if they felt the prices of the item were too high and that motorists should use alternative roads if they did not want to pay tab on tolled highways.

The DAP leader also cited as an example of the government being out of touch the lament by the PM that the government’s gets no credit for reduced prices for the kangkung vegetable when prices of other goods have gone up.

Wahid and Najib’s remarks have come in for popular derision because the comments were taken as examples of a government that does not feel the ordinary rakyat’s pain at the recent round of prices of goods stemming from slashed or removed subsidies for oil and sugar and raised tariffs on electricity.

Kulasegaran said if media lessons are given to ministers their cost should be not be met from the public purse but charged instead to the ministers’ accounts.

He said the government had already incurred unjustifiably high consultancy fees such that further debits to the public purse by reason of acquiring media skills would be intolerable, particularly in these times of the rakyat’s pain at the high cost of living.   

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