Newspaper advertising for public relations practitioners during the Malaya era 1957-1963

by Dato’ Sri Dr. Prof Syed Idid

The very first recruitment for public relations practitioners in Malaysia occurred in 1948 with an advertisement by the federal government of British colony in Malaya. This paper examines the subsequent advertisements to track the development of public relations practice in Malaysia with the aim of understanding its nature after Malaya sought independence from the British colonial government. A total of eleven recruitment advertisements were found before the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. This paper outlines the advertisers, the titles of positions, as well as their qualifications and duties. The result shows that the job requirements mainly came from the federal and local governments. Generally, the duties were related to information services and some specific responsibilities.

Every country has its own history of growth in public relations. While some countries’ public relations field developed after World War II, other countries have practiced public relations as an occupation even before the war. Many scholars have pointed out that leading Asian countries like Singapore, Taiwan and Japan had major American influence on their public relations practices (L’Etang, 2007). However, Malaysia adopted the practices and policies from the United Kingdom based on the British colonial system and the establishment of an information office and public relations department by the British government in Malaya. The historical and technological advancement of Malaysia in politics is strongly associated with the growth of public relations in the country.

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