Not well known, or appreciated, is the fact that Najib Tun Razak is a first-rate copywriter with a folksy and populist writing style.
The opposition estimates that Najib’s election budget will hit RM2 billion in the next six months to propagate himself and his government’s achievements.
And, according to a Pakatan Rakyat insider, who is a member of the party’s counter-strategy team, it “can be done legally and smartly”.
“It will be very difficult to segregate the government’s publicity from Najib’s personal and political publicity… it will be done legally and smartly,” said the insider.
And it doesn’t include the perks in the Budget 2013 which will be tabled in Parliament on Sept 28.
The government is going to be playing Santa Claus promising benefits to current voters at the expense of future generations.
The government will borrow massively; that creates debt, which future families must pay back with interest.
But like the old saying goes – all’s fair in love and war, so the battle to retain Putrajaya post-13th general election will be a no-holds-barred affair.
Print ads and films, campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and maybe a special deal with YouTube… Najib is leaving little to chance.
It’s learnt that Najib’s office has smart plans, in this election year, to promote the man on YouTube.
It is understood that an online video channel MAY is in the midst of signing an agreement to insert a 10-second video clip of Najib in millions of videos listed on its site.
Najib’s a first rate copywriter
If this agreement is signed, it will be a never-before-done kind of political campaign on an international platform by a Malaysian leader.
Unconfirmed reports claim that the agreement may cost upward of RM5 million a day and it will run for weeks till the election.
It is well-known that Najib has accounts on Facebook, Twitter and many other sites, and that he is one of the most popular political leaders on social media sites.
His accounts are believed to be run by trusted techies from the United States.
Najib’s office in Putrajaya is one of the most smartly operated offices as far as news, information and reference material collection is concerned, where he takes the help of most trusted techies.
Najib also has studios and supportive technology to make publicity material both in Putrajaya and in Pekan, Pahang, and at his home in Kuala Lumpur.
The prime minister has a full-time expert to make his films, videos and documentaries.
Najib’s office is also in negotiation to award a massive order for a 1Malaysia booklet showcasing his achievements.
Not well known, or appreciated, is the fact that Najib is a first-rate copywriter with a folksy and populist style. He loves writing slogans and prose for posters and political graffiti.
Publicity blitz in Orang Asli villages
The Najib government has even special plans for a publicity blitz in the Orang Asli villages.
There are 147,412 Orang Asli in Malaysia and the majority of them reside in 869 villages in Peninsular Malaysia, comprising around 0.6% of the Malaysian population.
Most of them are divided into three major ethnic groups – Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malays – and Pahang tops the list of having the most number of Orang Asli at 54,293.
Huge LCD screens and mobile vans have been ordered, with huge budget for travel to Orang Asli villages to publicise the government’s achievements.
Just this March, Najib had announced an additional allocation of RM750 million, of which RM151 million has been earmarked for water supply projects to be spread out over the 869 Orang Asli villages.
With all this pounding down on them, Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan are having sleepless nights, not because he will be taking on popular Najib but because he will have to counter Najib’s huge power of communication.
Selvarajah Somiah is a geologist and freelance writer. He blogs at selvarajasomiah.wordpress.com