By now, we hope that you now have a deep understanding of Public Relations on the international scale, in particular, Malaysia.
In a numer of blogs, we have aimed to give you a wide over view of the most important aspects to consider when taking part in international PR.
We value your feed back and welcome any questions you may have.
Best of luck in your International Public Relations studies.
Tourism Malaysia. (2010) Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=106VqiSV1lc
Freitag, A. R., & Stockes, A. Q. (2009) Global Public Relations Spanning Borders, Sp Cultures (Chap. 12 & 13). London: Routledge.
Johnston J., & Zawawi,C. (2009). Public relations theory and practice (3rd ed.). Allen & Unwin
Samovar, L. A., Porter R, A., & McDaniel E, R. (2007). Intercultural communication: A reader (12th ed.). USA:Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Sriramesh, K., & Vercic, D. (2002). International public relations: A framework for fut research. Journal of Communication Management, 6(2), 103-117. http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://www.emeraldinsight.com/1
Australian Government, (2011). Malaysia Profile. Retrieved August 7, 2011, fromhttp://www.austrade.gov.au/Malaysia-profile/default.aspx
BBC News, (2011). Malaysia Country Profile. Retrieved August 6, 2001, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1304569.stm
Malaysia Truly Asia, (2011). Political Stabilty. Retrieved August 6, 2011, from http://www.malaysia-trulyasia.com/tourism/political_stability.htm
Soros, G. (2010). The Corruption of Mahathir. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from http://malaysiadigest.blogspot.com/2010/01/corruption-of-mahathir-by-george-soros.html
1. Doing Business in Malaysia. (n.d.). In World Business Culture. Retrieved from http://www.worldbusinessculture.com/Business-in-Malaysia.html
2. Malaysia: Language, Customs, Culture and Etiquette. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/malaysia.html
3. Naidu, D. (2005.). Infrastructure Development in Malaysia. Nations Encyclopaedia: Asia and the South Pacific. 1(1), 204-227.
4. Mutasa, M, P. (2011.). SADCAS’ CEO Attends a Smart Partnership Dialogue in Kuala, Malaysia. In Smart Partnership Dialogue. Retrieved from http://www.sadcas. org/doc/ smart_partnership_dialogue.pdf
5. Top 10 destinations for independent travellers in 2011. (2011.). Retrieved from http://www.explorerworldtravel.net/2011/01/top-10-destinations-for-independent- travelers-in-2011/
6. History: Long, difficult road to nationhood. (2005.). Retrieved from http://www.nst.com.my /nst/articles/History_Long_difficultroadtonationhood/Article/
“The most critical factor that diminishes the value of public relations is the quality and precision of PR practice” Zulhamri Abdullah
Upon entering any country, it is expected that you will have knowledge of what is accepted and tolerated by the country’s law. This is no different from when you begin practicing Public Relations within Malaysia. Practitioners must ensure their strategies and tactics are not only socially and culturally acceptable, but acceptable by law.
Quick guide to The Malaysian Legal System:
- Based on the common law legal system, derived from Britain in the 19th century.
- The supreme law of the land – the constitution of Malaysia, sets out the legal framework and rights of the Malaysian citizens.
- Federal laws are enacted by the Parliament of Malaysia apply through the country.
- There are also state laws enacted by the State Legislative Assemblies which applies in the particular.
- The constution of Malaysia also provides for a unique dual justice system – the secular laws and sharia laws.
You may be wondering why the legal system is important when participating in international public relations… Below we have outlined a few employment laws that you will have to be engaged in. (you will have to abide by too!)
This is enforced by the Labor Department and sets minimum labor standards for workers. This is to protect them from over work - a lot like Australia, however weekly hours, wages and employment of women differ.
Eg, Under Malaysian Law, no woman can be employed to work underground.
It is also interesting to note, that every employee should be allowed one rest day per week. These laws are particularly important to know, as you may well be in charge of other employees.
This too is enforced by the Labor Department and by law, all workers must take out an insurance policy to cover liabilities under the act.
- The Employment (restriction) Act 1968
This is a must know for ALL practitioners looking to work abroad. Non Malaysain citizens are required to obtain a valid work permit, before seeking local employment
When practicing PR Malaysia, keep in mind cultural differences and laws that may affect plans for your organisations. As touched on in earlier blogs, censorship laws are prominent within Malaysia and the punishments that are attached to breaking these laws are severe
Government agencies, and lobbying groups that influence or restrict individuals or organizations within society.
Here are some key points about Malaysia’s Political Environment:
• Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy comprised of thirteen states and three federal territories.
• Nine of the states in Malaysia have hereditary rulers, meaning the positions are inherited and passed down from family members.
• Malaysia has a Supreme Head of State known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) who is elected every five years from among the nine rulers.
• The King’s role is largely ceremonial, he is head of the armed forces, all laws and the appointment of every cabinet minister require his consent.
• Current Head of State is Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin
The King then elects the Prime Minister from among the most predominant political party; the United Malays National Organization. The King then performs his official duties upon the advice of the Prime Minister. Malaysia’s current Prime Minister Najib Razak.
It is important to note that Malaysia have a number of political issues which Najoib Razak is trying to currently reform. Some of these include:
· Racial divide- many political parties are based ethnically.
· Corruption- there have been many cases and inquiries undertaken within Malaysian politics. In 1998, former Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim was accused of corrupt conduct. He was arrested and charged with corrupt practices including obstruction of justice and sodomy. Over a decade on, this political conspiracy is still an on-going investigation.
· Malaysia also have a history of vote buying when it comes to elections. In 1997, Former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad was voted Prime Minister of the Decade. However it was soon revealed that those who planned to vote against him were threatened by the IRD officers and with losing their jobs
In regards to politics and media in Malaysia, they have some of the toughest censorship laws in the world. The Government own many of the newspapers and exert substantial control over what is printed. Journalists are frequently given guidelines by the Prime Minister’s office when reporting ‘sensitive’ issues. During elections, the media is controlled extensively by the Government; ensuring publications show them in a positive way. News is also subject to censorship along with entertainment shows and music videos and scenes featuring swearing or kissing are routinely removed. These heavy censorship laws put in place by the Government would make it very difficult for a public relations practitioner to print or promote certain stories or products within Malaysia. These Government laws along with the other issues of racial divide and corruption would ultimately make it complex for public relations practice to be successful within Malaysia.
Be sure to stay tuned for our next post on Malaysia’s Legal environment where Hannah will go into more detail about censorship and other media laws.
Infrastructure is a factor not commonly considered in playing a part in the success of Public Relations activities in international business. However, infrastructure is essentially the foundation that facilitates public relations and business activities. This is because the roads, bridges, building, electricity etc are the factors that enable transport, functions to be held, products to be launched and places to be reached.
So, in terms of Malaysia…. What is the standard of the infrastructure? And does in enhance or inhibit public relations actions?
During the 1960s, the Malaysian Government began a development plan for the country, working from the concept that the continual development of a country’s economy is enhanced by the dual development of its infrastructure. With this is mind infrastructure has been allocated almost RM 210 000 Million, making it the recipient of the largest allocation of finance. As a result the accessibility and marketability of Malaysia as a whole, including the regional areas have become and are continually increasingly appealing in the international business market.
Some of the most impressive infrastructural developments include;
- The quality infrastructure has enhanced cooperative business approaches at regional, national and international levels
- The road network of Malaysia has expanded 70000km in 6 years from 1996-2005, being the main mode of transport within Malaysia, this means that the entire country is accessible by car
- The electricity industry has also received major development, increasing almost 20000MW in less than 10 years
The influence that this infrastructural development has on public relations functions is that the country is able to facilitate business functions. This means that products, equipment, guests etc can be transported to all areas of the country; there are numerous establishments that can hold functions, product launches or seminars.
An excellent example that demonstrates the infrastructural development of the country of Malaysia is a comparison of the capital, Kuala Lumpur from the 1960s, when the development plan first began, to current day and its international standard central business district.
We hope that this blog post has helped you to recognise the high standard and quality of Malaysia’s infrastructure and that the widest variety of public relations activities can take place in Malaysia.
The following blog post will discuss the political status of Malaysia, it will be interesting for you to consider the barriers that could be associated with public relations activities outside of the fact that the facilities/infrastructure is available to you, especially because this is something extremely common in international business practice.
Refresh your memory on Malaysia so far
The Malaysian Economy is a growing and open economy. The state plays a slight but declining role in the guidance of economic activity. For Public Relations practitioners, this means only slight involvement with the government.
In the 1970’s, an economic boom was experienced. This was an excellent occurrence for Malaysia opening up them up to a multi-sector economy.
Malaysia is a country rich in natural resources that ensures sound developments in agriculture, forestry and mining for the future.
Due to Malaysia being one of three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade plays a large role in its economy. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country’s economy.
The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit. At the moment, restrictions are being relaxed to allow for international trade of this currency. This will help both the Malaysian economy greatly as well as aid those countries that wish to start trading with the Malaysian currency.
Want to see how Malaysia compares in economical risk, against other Asian countries? Check out the AMB Country Risk Report
Malaysia’s media is one that is governed by ‘some of the toughest censorship laws in the world.’ (BBC) Political and religious factors are cited as the primary reasons as to why these laws exist.
Different types of media are censored to different extents. Conventional media such as print and radio (the main one being Radio Television Malaysia), are largely state run and are strongly censored, however the internet is alot less regulated, and is often used as a portal to convey public messages. As a result of traditional press being so highly censored, the population is exposed to a biased, one sided view.
BBC state that a lot of the censorship laws are due to religious factors, specifically wanting to insulate the largely Muslim population, from what the government deems as negative foreign influences, such as sexual themes in television shows etc.
From a political standpoint, limited freedom of press means limited government accountability. Censorship works in favour of the government, but not necessarily for organisations that may have different agendas to the government. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the “One Malaysia Concept.” Enforced by the government, it promotes a culture of excellence and emphasises the importance of collectivism of the population as a cultural syndrome. Collectivism focuses on ‘strong cohesive groups…of unquestioning loyalty’ (Clearly Cultural), where the population asks, how something will affect not only them, but Malaysians as a whole. On Hofstede’s cultural dimensions individualism scale, Malaysia scored 26, demonstrating a collective society.
Impact mass media has on Public Relations in Malaysia
The strong censorship laws in Malaysia make it difficult for organisations to implement PR efforts simply and effectively in the mass media. Organisations will experience limited accessibility to the public to convey key messages, particularly with traditional forms of media that are state run.
Organisations should focus PR efforts at forms of media that are less regulated, such as the internet, which will help to facilitate organisational goals.
In particularly, PR efforts must mould to fit with the One Malaysia concept. Although some of the population does not agree with the concept, an organisation would experience difficulty with cooperation from the government if they themselves did not.