A slick new video has emerged, which some of the mainstream media are accepting at face value.
The video could be an individual effort, but to me the storyboard bears all the hallmarks of sophisticated public relations/political strategy – you know, the sort well-paid consultants could come up with.
The video depicts a conveniently unnamed woman executive who apparently is disillusioned with what is happening in Penang. The premise is clever: the woman in the video starts off as a Pakatan supporter, a Bersih supporter – someone many ordinary Penangites can identify with – who then goes through a ‘crisis’ of sorts, questioning whether she made the right electoral choices in the past.
She raises questions, some of them valid, about the state of ‘development’ in Penang.
The video depicts some nagging key concerns: high property prices in the state – but then says prices are almost as high as in KL (which is under BN rule).
It also reminds us of overdevelopment and the serious flooding in the state. But there is a major giveaway: the video says it was the federal government leaders who “rescued” Penang during the flood. That’s an Umno narrative.
The video also takes a swipe at the highway-tunnel swap deal and all that reclamation – a major weak spot of the state government.
It laments the higher cost of living and stagnant wages. Now, this is by no means a peculiarly Penang problem – though of course:
– aggressive property development has driven out many vegetable farms from the island;
– property speculation has pushed up land prices and the cost of doing business; and
– appallingly loose planning by the state authorities, in the absence of the Penang Island Local Plan, has allowed more high-end high-density housing to flourish on the island.
As for the lack of ‘development’ in mainland Penang suggested in the video, many mainlanders I know are thankful about being spared the higher property prices and horrendous congestion on the roads found on the island, thank you very much.
The video doesn’t come across as ‘hard sell’: it only says “Make the right choice” at the end. It doesn’t even tell you which party to vote for – which may be intentional because the major alternative parties in the state have been so discredited, thanks to their association with Umno, despite the credible social housing policies previous state administrations had.
Maybe the video will serve the interest of the so-called ‘third force’ – and we all know who stands to benefit from that.
Verdict: Slick production, raises some valid issues. The anonymity of its source adds to the realism. But in the end, thinly disguised political agenda – doesn’t take a genius to figure out whose political interest it serves.
Consider it the first salvo in the social media propaganda wars.