Ad Baculum, Islamic State and Malaysian Chinese Politics: A Rhetorical Study of Selected Political Advertisements in the Local Chinese Media during the 11th Malaysian General Election Campaign

  •  Kim-Hui Lim    
  •  Wai-Mun Har    


This study analyzes the rhetorical strategy of using the emotion of fear as a political tool in the 11th Malaysia General Election campaign. The three-prong objectives of this study are to analyze the main themes and issues used to address this tactic of fear, the general perceptions that non-Moslems in Malaysia have of the concept of Islamic state as a symbol of fear and rhetorical strategies used to provoke this fear. The scope of the study is confined to the conventional communication model of “Source-Message-Channel-Receiver”. The “sources” are political advertisements, the “messages” are Islamic state theme and related issues, the “channels” are symbols or rhetorical strategies and the “receivers” are the voters, with special reference to Malaysian Chinese voters. The findings concluded that the National Front party (Barisan National, BN) used the fear factor effectively in its campaign. This situation is further enhanced by the strong control of BN over the Malaysian media in addition to the character of Chinese voters who generally prefer not to leave their current comfort zone and are afraid of an Islamic state.

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