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Red marks for Rafizi after dig at Malaysians who didn't sign up for PADU

Economy minister told not to react as a politician.

2 minute read
Experts tell Rafizi Ramli to answer his critics as a minister and not as a politician.
Experts tell Rafizi Ramli to answer his critics as a minister and not as a politician.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli's jibes towards those who did not register in the PADU database which he has been promoting shows a communication failure on his part, with experts in the field advising the PKR leader to treat critics with respect.

An academic said it was important for Rafizi to understand that scepticism towards PADU should not be treated as an attack against the government.

"The minister should treat the public with more respect. The public is not stupid. They refuse to register not because they don't support the government," said Shafizan Mohamed, who teaches communications at International Islamic University Malaysia.

"They did not register because you (Rafizi) failed to tell them why they need to register," she told MalaysiaNow.

Rafizi recently uploaded a short clip on his social media pages, as part of a series of promotional videos featuring his use of poetry to encourage the public to enrol in PADU.

On the last day of the registration exercise on Sunday, Rafizi said he was tired of poetry.

"No poetry for today. It's up to you guys. You want to register, go ahead. If you don't want to register, then all the best in your Raya celebrations," he said, sparking hundreds of critical comments.

PADU has been touted as a centralised database to guide the government in its implementation of targeted subsidies. 

However, doubts have been raised about data security, with the GPS-led Sarawak government suspending registration in a snub to Rafizi.

Shafizan said so far, PADU's objectives as explained by the economy ministry had been "generic".

"Instead of asking the people to register with PADU, they should have created a clear mechanism for the targeted subsidies first. Only then would we know why we should register," she said, adding that the public did not see the benefit of registering on the database. 

UiTM communications lecturer Abd Aziz Azizam said the lukewarm public response to PADU signalled a lack of trust in the government.

He said Rafizi had resorted to "a carrot-and-stick" approach in the hope of getting the public to embrace PADU.

"This does not guarantee an increase in the public's trust," he added.

Aziz said Rafizi should be more pragmatic in delivering information, and less of a politician in countering critics.

Shafizan meanwhile said the PKR politician should exercise patience in facing criticism over data privacy, adding that such concerns were legitimate. 

"It's not just about the system, it's how the government uses this data. It seems that the minister's response to criticism has always been political. He needs to respond like a minister, not like a politician. 

"When people decide to register or not, it goes beyond political affiliation," she said.

Political analyst Kartini Aboo Talib said Rafizi's last video showed that he had given up.

"He needs to ramp up the campaign and not give up," she told MalaysiaNow, adding that the ministry would do well to address concerns that the data collected could be used for political purposes.