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GLC contributes to the dismal growth of Malay advertising industry?

GLC contributes to the dismal growth of Malay advertising industry?


Advertising industry is now worth RM8 billion of income generation and contributed about 1.5 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2011. In fact it has been robust and has the potential to grow like any other service industry.

It has made its footprint since the pre- and post independence era. In fact it has grown into an industry that transcend racial borders to include not just the Chinese but also Malay entrepreneurial players.

However, the advertising industry appears to be under the threat of globalization that exposes us to the danger of marauding conspiracy and onslaught of multi-national companies (MNC) network.

The Malay advertising industry is now in a state of distress because of the attack by Western operators (multi-national companies) which are discreetly making their footings and dominate every strategic asset - from a research house (AC Nielsen) to the advertising network agencies, media expertise and local clientele and multi-national companies.

They have all arranged their cut so that the cash flow and capital goes to the pockets of their own networks. The core and periphery are intertwined so that the revenue circulates among themselve thus sidelining the local operators. This is the well-knitted and manipulative system of capitalism.

Our educational and business institution especially the government link corporations (GLCs) have contributed tremendously in the perpetration of this system to the point that we have no mean to strengthen the local advertising operators. Till today, our graduates not only work with multi-national companies, in fact we are still short of experts in media management.

The outcome of this is that the Malay advertising especially the bumiputera advertising agencies are still way behind in providing job opportunities. The public and private institution of higher learning contributed tremendously towards the greed of multi-nationals and not the needs of domestic companies.

Almost 200 advertising graduates are produced every year but the fact is almost 70 percent of them work for multi-national companies in various fields. Why should this happen?

This discrepancy in the advertising industry which is under the control of Western multi-national companies, has affected the competitiveness of the locals due to technological factor, clientele network, local and foreign expert manpower as well as our sustainability in all advertising industry and market communication require us to be protected by an affirmative action plan.

The human resource absorption of advertising industry has reached 5,000 professionals and often run out of experts due to the demand by multi-national companies which offer competitive pay while local companies only get a small chunk.

The GLC is also the main cause why Malay advertising industry fails to grow successfully as publisher/printer. Many GLCs prefer to engage multinational companies in advertising and promotion. This is evidence when the Malay newspapers only enjoy 20 percent of the RM7 billion in advertising expenditures in 2011/2012.

Between March 2011 and December 2011, the Malay newspapers only obtained RM456,843 million in revenue compared with the entire advertising expenditure of RM4 billion. This is less than 20 percent of the entire print media revenue.

Compared with the English and Mandarin newspapers, the Malay newspapers are way behind.

In this context, the contribution of GLCs toward the Malay newspapers is a mere RM50 million for 2011.

As such, I agree and support any idea for the formulation of any mechanism such as the National Advertising Policy (NAP) to check this imbalance between multinational company agencies and bumiputera in all aspect of advertising industries including the revenue distribution for the Malay newspapers compared with the vernacular and English newspapers.

The NAP should be able to assist towards a balance national wealth distribution in line with the aspiration of Vision 2020 that aims for multiracial economic justice and fair share of national wealth.

The policy will also ensure that GLCs help in the social agenda and Malay entrepreneurs in all aspects of advertising sector/industry so that it can also be catalyst to the Malay economy which is being marginalized by the related ministries and GLCs as trustees like Petronas, Khazanah Nasional, PNB, Sime Darby, TNB, Telekom, Proton, MAS, Maybank and so forth.

I hope and urge that NAP can be expedited and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture, be given the task to formulate the policy through the National Advertisement Council and National Advertising Commission.


Senior Lecturer Centre for Communication Studies,

Universiti Sains Malaysia