Media must not sacrifice dignity of language


KUCHING: The mainstream media must not sacrifice the use of proper language for the sake of popularity, says Suhaimi Sulaiman.

The Sarawak Media Group chief executive officer (CEO), who pointed this out, asserted that he always believed in proper presentation of information through the use of standard prose amid the rampant use of colloquial language in social media platforms.

“To me, it is always important to follow the current needs and popular trends of the mass population. However, we must not sacrifice the dignity of our language and nation.

“Through the use of ‘bahasa pasar’, we can lose our credibility. The people will also lose their respect towards us as our values reduce,” said the media expert in an exclusive interview here on Wednesday (Jun 29).

He was alluding to the widespread use of colloquial language by influencers in presenting information to the people through social media.

However, Suhaimi said it is acceptable for mainstream media to use everyday language for promotional purposes that suits the needs of a particular platform.

“In terms of wanting to promote something on social media, it’s up to them to adapt to the lingo of that platform,” he added.

Commenting further, he added that mainstream media must refrain from going against the grain when it comes to their identity as a brand.

“Stick to your brand. Because chances are the readers love your brand.”

Asked for ways for mainstream media to remain relevant in the face of social media, he said it is crucial for the media to possess a sense of completeness on top of having great credibility and trust among its audience.

“When they have all these, social media will only serve to attract people to the appeal of mainstream media, be it printed or broadcast,” he assured.

He noted that journalists must also become great marketeers to be able to ‘sell’ their stories to the people and attract more audience.

“So now, a journalist is not just somebody who’s a storyteller, but also someone who is able to sell stories that appeal to the readers,” added Suhaimi.


Suhaimi Sulaiman wears many hats.

· Author of “I Hate Reading the Teleprompter: My 25 Years in Broadcasting”, is one of Malaysia’s top media personalities.

· A well-known TV anchor and conference moderator and a much sought-after trainer and coach in media strategies, crisis communications and branding.

· Currently, the Chief Executive Officer of Sarawak Media Group, the brand owner of TVS.

· A multitalented storyteller, he attended the CNN Journalism Fellowship Management Session at CNN’s Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in September 2014 and is a CNN Journalism Fellow.

· A media, crisis communications, leadership, branding, and perception management trainer.

· Adjunct Professor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Taylor’s University.

· Previously, the CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Astro AWANI and Chairman on BERNAMA.

· Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA and an MBA from City University, Bellevue, Washington.

· Provides strategic communications advice to the top management teams of multinational companies, public listed companies, opinion leaders and politicians which include Malaysia Airports, AGROBANK, PETRONAS Dagangan, Cyberview Sdn Bhd, UDA Holdings, AXIATA, EDOTCO, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, Ranhill Bhd, Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels, ACCA, Razak School of Government, Zakat Selangor, Jabatan Pengairan & Saluran, Tabung Haji, AlRajhi Bank, Lembaga Pemasaran Pertanian Persekutuan (FAMA), Danajamin Nasional Bhd and many more.

· Trained leaders of start-ups in the ASEAN region on “dealing with the media” with the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and through his collaboration trained start-up founders from Singapore, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

· A much sought-after speaker for various business, marketing, and communications conferences.

· A speaker at the World Islamic Trade Forum 2020, the 16th Biennial International Conference on Media & Communication 2019 (MENTION2019), the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) International Conference 2015, ABIM’s Global Forum 2015, UKM’s Media Entrepreneurship Industry Talk 2015 and Media Crisis Management Forum 2016 and 2017.

· Together with his business partner Asyraf Amir, runs a café (Sambal & Style) in Melaka, a backpackers hostel (Sleephere Hostel Melaka) and a boutique (Su & Ash), also in Melaka.

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