The 1Malaysia campaign has been around for at least two years now but it was not until recently that I fully realized how extensive the campaign is. Passing through the expressway that connects the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the city, the term 1Malaysia assaulted me eyes endlessly. The billboards were full of it. I felt as if I was in a totalitarian country where the government controls information and the government wants to brainwash me. Believe in 1Malaysia, believe in 1Malaysia, believe in 1…
Except that, the country is not a totalitarian state and except that it was not the government that was directly promoting the term 1Malaysia on those billboards along the expressway. Not most of advertisement on the billboards anyway. Most of the billboards with 1Malaysia written on it were hired by entities with business concerns.
Politics is not really a realm these companies should typically be in. And so, something is going on.
I tried to rationalize why do these companies meddle in politics.
Are these companies government-linked?
Not so. At least not most of them. If most of them were, then it would be easy to understand why. It could have been a directive from the companies’ shareholder, which is the government.
Most of them seem to be private companies.
I was thinking, maybe these companies truly believe in the 1Malaysia campaign introduced by the Prime Minister, Najib Razak. Maybe there is some kind of altruism at work.
I do not believe in altruism. I do not believe that it exists. I consider the altruist case as improbable.
What is likely going on is that these companies in many ways are depended on the goodwill of the government of the day. Either their businesses are extensively connected to the government, or that the leadership of the companies are politically connected to those in power.
To put it more bluntly, there is corporate suck-up.
Corporate suck-up does not have to exist if the market is largely free from government meddling. In many ways, like has been written, government intervention in the market is so wide that these businesses are dependent on the goodwill of the government. To gain favor of the government that controls so many aspects of business, these businesses have to ingratiate itself to the government of the day.
Nobody ingratiates to the weak but the government is not weak. The size of the government is big.