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Malaysia,
which formerly carried the name Malaya, is an example of a successful plural
society. Back in the days where intervention of different colonial powers came
into Malaysia, it had caused the formation of this plural society which involved
multi-races in it. The British had been ruling Malaya for more than 150 years before
independence and during that period, Malaya witnessed massive immigration of foreigners,
coming from China and India. Malaya was prosperous with tin and rubber which
made Malaya as an agricultural based economy.

 

The
stability in politics and prosperity of Malaya at that time are the factors
that attracted foreigners to migrate to Malaya and became labors. These
immigrants are then divided into industries according to their races, the three
main ethnic groups; Malay, Chinese and Indians are segregated geographically.
The segregation placed the Malays in rural places engaging in agricultures
sector, the Chinese in the urban areas and involve in business activities, and
the Indians in the estates (Khairiah, Chan & Singh, 2013).

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The
New Economic Policy (NEP) was implemented after the racial riot broke out in
1967. It is a program formulated by the National Operations Council (NOC) and
was adopted in 1971 for the period of 20 years before being succeeded by the
National Developing Policy (NDP).

 

The
purpose of this research is to study the understanding and belief towards TN50
reports in media, specifically in online news article, among political
activists. In order to gain information on the understanding and belief of political
activists, an in-depth interview will be conducted among political activists
from different political parties in Malaysia. The interview will be conducted
to gain balanced insights from every political parties regarding the
implementation of TN50.

 

 

1.2              

 

In 1969, tensions between the ethnics occurred
due to the uneven dissemination of wealth to each group which caused hundreds to
die. In respond to the historical incident, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was
implemented to govern Malaysian economic policy in 1970. It is a program developed
by the government in order to reconstruct the society with the purpose of
creating balanced economical distributions among the main ethnic groups in the
country.

 

The NEP was conceived as a two-pronged
strategy for eradicating poverty for all Malaysians as well as reducing and
subsequently eliminating identification of race by economic function and
geographical location. The Policy sought to achieve its objectives through
rapid expansion of the economy over time and set its target of substantially
reducing the incidence of absolute poverty by 1990.

 

In 1990, Tun Mahathir launched a New
Economic Policy (NEP) known as Vision 2020, which was developed as a long-term
objective for Malaysia in becoming a fully developed country. The name Vision
2020 actually connected to having a superlative vision of 20/20 and the main
objectives of the vision is to modernize and develop our country based on its own model and
develop that nation economically, politically, socially, spiritually,
psychologically and culturally.

 

There
were at least nine challenges that supposed to be overcome in achieving the
Vision 2020 goals. In summary, these goals were to build a united Bangsa
Malaysia, shape a developed society, promote a democratic society, produce an
ethical society, produce a liberal society, produce a scientific society,
produce a caring society, securing economic justice and build a competitive
economy (The Star, 2017).

 

 

 

As
the policy was coming to its end after twenty years, the
Malaysian government has embedded ‘Transformasi Nasional 50′, an initiative
plan for the country’s future within the year 2020 to 2050. According to Najib
Abdul Razak (2017), in his blog, he states that the New Economic Policy he
introduced in 2010 is putting Malaysia on the right track in achieving Vision
2020 which is 3 years away.

 

1.3

 

Malaysia’s atmosphere has changed since
former vision-setting exercise that was implemented by Tun Mahathir Mohamed,
which is Vision 2020. By the year 2020, the vision calls Malaysia to achieve a
self-sufficient industrialised nation, containing every aspects of life,
ranging from economic prosperity, social well-being, world-class education,
political stability and also psychological balance. However, does Vision 2020
really have Malaysia prepared for the future plan and has it achieved all of
the visions?

 

Looking back to it, there are challenges
that Malaysia is facing which is still stopping it from achieving Vision 2020.
Malaysia is set to establish a united nation known as Bangsa Malaysia but the
racial tension that happened in Plaza Low Yat few years back shows that the
society is still easily manipulated (TallyPress, 2015). There are still portions
of narrow-minded Malaysian that cannot seem to accept modernity, corruptions
are still happening, and racial tensions are still easily triggered. Therefore,
the planning and clarity of TN50 is important to ensure that Malaysia is
qualified to face the future beyond the year 2020.

 

Even though, it has been
made detailed and clear by the Prime Minister on TN50 in his 2017 Budget speech
but the economics elements of TN50 appear to be the same as the elements in the
1970 New Economic Policy. According to Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, in My Sin Chew (2017)
website, “we could have been more successful if there was more balanced
implementation of these very principles that are enshrined in the
Constitution.”

 

However, in
following to the infamous 1MDB scandal involving our Prime Minister, Malaysians
doubt the way government is handling the nation. Due to the scandal, Malaysia’s
economy is affected the hardest as “investors are pulling out funds, the stock
market is sliding and the Ringgit Malaysia currency hits its lowest point
against the Dollar” (World Politics Review, 2015). Through the investigation
that has been carried out and also international reporting on the scandal,
Malaysians learned about the state wealth fund, theft of funds for personal
use, a number of poor investments and paying the governing coalition’s
electoral campaign, and Malaysians, including the political activists, were not
happy with it.

The scandal had
caused Najib Abdul Razak to be badly criticised as the economy of Malaysia is
affected badly. According to Adam Jarczyk, a practice leader in Asia Pacific
from Frontier Strategy Group, the scandal surrounding
1MDB also impacts Malaysia’s currency and business environment (CNBC, 2015).
Due to this matter, Malaysian citizens are losing their trust in the government
and the media are being controlled by the government, where information flow is
filtered.

            Therefore,
are the reports on the implementation of TN50 is genuine? Or is it just a
government’s propaganda to distract the Malaysians’ attentions from the
scandal? There are parties that doubt the new policy TN50 based on the view
from the other opposition political parties. Thus this policy needs to be
viewed from an unbiased point of view. This matter will be further studied by
the researcher.

 

1.4   

With relation to this particular study, there are a few terms
which are crucial to the study. These terms are defined as follows:

 

1.4.1       
Policy

According to
Merriam-Webster dictionary, policy is a definite method of action to guide
present and future decisions. Besides than that, policy is a high-level overall
plan embracing the goals and procedures especially of a governmental body.

 

 

1.4.2       
Online News Articles

According to The
Free Dictionary, news articles is an article that reporting news. Online, however, is defined as
being connected to, served by, or available through a system such as Internet. News
articles have the same function of reporting news to the audiences, only it is
available through internet. Online news refers to “newspaper online which
contains stories and information on the internet” (Annuar, 2014).

 

1.5          

These
are the research questions for this study:

 

1.      What
is the understanding of political activists on ‘Transformasi Nasional 50’
(TN50) reports in media?

2.      What
is the belief on ‘Transformasi Nasional 50′ (TN50) reports in media among
political activists?

3.      What
political activists views on TN50 reports in media, propaganda or a genuine
effort?

 

1.6   

These
are the research objectives for this study:

 

1.      To
analyze the understanding of political activists on TN50 reports in media.

2.      To
study the belief on TN50 reports in media among political activists.

3.      To
analyze the political activists acceptance on TN50 reports in media as
propaganda or a genuine effort.

 

 

 

 

 

1.7This study is
significant to the current government or future government that will lead
Malaysia one fine day. It is important for the government to have trust from
the Malaysians to govern the country. Therefore, government should avoid from
being involved in any sort of scandal especially if it involves economy and
monetary. This is because government will be condemned by the citizens and the
opposition party is looking at it as a chance to take the government down.

 

 

 

 

This research will also definitely beneficial the future
researchers who wanted to replicate this study, using this research as a
reference or could also use any methods that is used in this study to analyse
any similar study to this research. The researcher found a gap in this study
therefore any future researcher will need the results of this research to be
use in the future literature references. Future researchers can use this
study and may also improvise the study.

 

1.8          

 

The researcher is having trouble in
retrieving past researches specifically on the topic TN50 as it is a new policy
that had just been implemented by the government. There are very limited
researches on TN50 and so, the researcher had to just refer to studies that
elaborate on economic policy and also depended on websites and news articles
regarding TN50.

 

 

            Secondly, the researcher will have
limitation to access for an interview with political activists that are
credible to provide information that is needed by the researcher. Some of the
credible political activists may have time constrains regarding other work
commitments and may not have the time to entertain an interview.

 

Media
has an important role in shaping public opinion among society and it also plays
a role in shaping political attitudes and behaviour. There are a wide range of
information sources that can keep people informed on political issues (Lauren
N. Smith & David McMenemy, 2017) and the most substantial sources are the
television and written press (Maria D. Alvarez & Meral
Korzay, 2008).It is important in checking the type of information to be
disseminated since some journalists may be reporting a bias or not an exactly
accurate information. (John Lloyd, 2004) said that media is able to develop
with the assistance of a careful intellectual in journalism. In addition, the
people determine information on political issues to trust by differentiating
the news organisations that the journalists work for (Barrie Gunter, 2005).

 

Emily Vraga
(2016) said political content exposure affect political expression depending on
the compatibility of the content with the individual’s political beliefs. The
Malaysian government comes up with a new policy that is called as “Transformasi
Nasional 50” and due to some previous scandalous government issues, the public
and people of Malaysia may have doubts towards the next steps or efforts that
government intend to take. The public are entering the post-trust era where an
individual personal belief and concern, news disposition and what are accepted
as news are taking over facts and evidence (Nick Rochlin, 2017). Rochlin (2017)
added that the validity of a story does not matter as long as the story
conforms to what a person prefer to hear. The public are also losing trust in
journalist and according to Luzia Helfer & Peter Van Aelst (2016), in their
article journalists’ perception in deciding the worthiness of a news are
determined by the power of the party, unexpectedness, and the strength of the
political action, therefore, messages from government parties are more
preferred to make a coverage.

 

A theory is developed by Joseph Klapper
(1960), known as Reinforcement Theory, a perspective that argues audiences are
active, not mere passive and unquestioning recipients of whatever is served to them
(as cited in Hindle & Klyver, 2007). In this theory, media is seen as
having very little power in influencing the beliefs, values, and ideas that the
recipients have already held. According to Klapper’s model, the messages from
media will only capable to reinforce ideas, values, and attitudes that a person
already possesses. Messages from the media can only be accepted if the message
agrees or supplement his or her standpoint, the ones that do not are rejected.

 

 

2.3         

 

This
research is concern on the understanding and belief of political activists
towards the reports on TN50 on online news article. According to the theory,
media has little control or influence towards the audience’s belief, only
messages that supplement the audience’s standpoint can influence the audience. The
inability to accept messages from the online news articles may also shape the
understanding and belief towards TN50 reports as propaganda or genuine effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1.0  Theoritical framework of the study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this chapter, we will be discussing
on the methodology that will be used in the study that involve the conceptual
framework, research design, data collection, data sampling and data analysis.
Appropriate method will be selected in order to find the correct findings of
the research paper.

The purpose of this research paper is to
look at the understanding and belief towards TN50 reports in online news
article among political activists. According to Underhill (1991), is an
argument that the concept chosen for investigation or interpretation and any
anticipated relationships among them will be appropriate and useful, given the
research problem under investigation. Therefore, this research paper will analyze
the understanding of political activists on TN50 reports in media, study the
effects of TN50 reports in media on political activists’ beliefs, and analyze
the TN50 reports in media as propaganda or a genuine effort. The above points
will be gathered from face-to-face interview that will be conducted. Interviews
will be conducted with political activists from different political parties. Lokman (2012) defined qualitative research as a set
of techniques used frequently in social science in which data is obtained from
a small group of respondents. Lokman (2012) added that verbal descriptions of
characteristic and cases involving interviews and document review to acquire
data are another way of describing qualitative research. Thus, this research
paper will discuss and answer the research questions by using qualitative
method.

 

The study is designed to answer the research
questions and also to achieve the aims and objectives which have been set. The
study requires specific knowledge from the respondents in the local politics field
in Malaysia. To ensure a non–bias view, political activists from United Malays
National Organization (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and Pakatan Harapan
that includes Parti Pribumi BERSATU Malaysia (BERSATU), Parti Keadilan Rakyat
(PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and The National Trust Party (AMANAH)
would be interviewed in regards to their own specific understanding and beliefs.

 

Interviews
will be conducted with political activists from different political parties; United
Malays National Organization (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and Pakatan
Harapan that includes Parti Pribumi BERSATU Malaysia (BERSATU), Parti Keadilan
Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and The National Trust Party
(AMANAH). The sampling of the study is purposive sampling. The purpose of
choosing political activists from different political parties is because each
activist will have different views on the NEP as the government is under the
management of another political party, Barisan Nasional (BN). It is also to get
balanced and non-biased information.

 

The
study will be based on in-depth interview. Interviews that were conducted will
be recorded, transcribed, analyzed and documented. The data is used to assist
in analysis and findings. The data obtained will be analyzed accordingly with
the theory that was proposed by researcher to achieve the objectives of the
study.

 

 

 

Chapter three focuses
on the methods used by the researcher on collecting data, in order to fulfill
the purposes and research questions aimed at the beginning of the research. The
qualitative methodology used in this research requires planning, understanding
of the issue and through analysis of information because without proper
planning, the result of would not support the problem statement hence result to
an incomplete research paper. The research paper requires in depth interview
whereby certain question must be generated in line with the objective of the
study.

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