Najib Paid RM150,000 A Month To Monitor 6 Chinese News Sites In Malaysia

The Centre for Strategic Engagement Sdn Bhd (Cense) was hired to provide services for the Prime Minister's Office.

Cover image via Malaysiakini/Malaysian Chinese News (edited)

A research firm was paid RM150,000 a month to monitor Chinese press for the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) under Datuk Seri Najib Razak

Image via Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini reported that Centre of Strategic Engagement (Cense) was hired to provide daily analysis of content from Chinese news portals in Malaysia. 

According to Malay Mail, Cense director Rita Sim testified in the High Court yesterday, 23 April, that the company she co-founded had received a total of RM300,000 between December 2014 and January 2015. 

The sum reportedly originated from an AmBank account linked to the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

Cense was approached by the late Tan Sri Jamaluddin Mohd Jarjis to monitor six Chinese dailies

The six Chinese news sites were:

- Sin Chew Daily,
- Nanyang Siang Pau,
- Kwong Wah Jit Poh,
- China Press,
- Guang Ming Daily, and
- Oriental Daily. 

Malay Mail reported Rita as saying that Jamaluddin wanted to find out the problems faced by the Chinese community and the reason they appeared to be "anti-government"

The late Tan Sri Dr. Jamaluddin Mohd Jarjis

Image via Sinar Harian

"The monitoring and analysis service were done daily and a report will be sent to the media office of the Prime Minister's Office," Rita told the court yesterday. 

"This analysis is sent daily through WhatsApp, followed by a weekly analysis through email, and a monthly analysis which is the summary of the weekly findings," she added. 

Jamaluddin was killed in a helicopter crash in 2015, along with five others including Private Secretary in PMO Datuk Seri Azlin Alias and Kedah businessman Datuk Robert Tan Huat Seang. 

Rita also revealed the issues pertaining to Chinese dissatisfaction with the federal government

Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah had asked Rita if she agreed that it is crucial for political parties to understand Chinese issues to address dissatisfaction with the government.

In response to him, the Cense director stressed that the Chinese community should be a concern of all political parties, and not just the ruling coalition at the time – Barisan Nasional.

Cense director Rita Sim

Image via Malay Mail

"The government of the day must derive policies to address the needs of the Chinese community... (they) have a lot of issues with education and the Unified Examination Certificate," Rita said, according to Malaysiakini. 

"(Then there is) the middle-income trap or urban poor involving the Chinese community. Everyone thinks the Chinese are rich, but that is not true," she added. 

However, Rita acknowledged that there was a rise in financial allocations for community, but the number of Chinese vernacular schools were not increased. 

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