Rais: We need better spin doctors

By Izatun Shari, The Star

Malaysia should have influential public relations firms similar to lobbying groups in developed nations, said Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He also proposed that local public relations practitioners use blogs to compete with local bloggers who spin stories on all sorts of issues.

“If others can spin, why can’t we?” he asked at the launch of two books on the development and practice of public relations and politics in the country at the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM) yesterday.

He said in the United States, the role of public relations was extended to political lobbying with the existence of at least 250 lobbying firms in Washington with all sorts of agendas.

“The more influential they are, the higher their paychecks. It’s time for Malaysia to have public relations practitioners who are well trained and knowledgable.”

Dr Rais proposed that public relations practitioners be trained with a syllabus created by IPRM.

To a proposal from IPRM president Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan that a Public Relations Act be created to enhance the profession, Dr Rais said: “There are no problems about formulating such a law.”

The institute, he said, should work together with the Information Department to determine the definition, powers, functions and advantages of the proposed Act. He suggested that a committee to draft the proposal be set up.

Dr Rais said IPRM and public relations practitioners should use blogs to put forward their views and comments on issues in line with the Government’s aim of promoting Internet activities among the public.