An analysis of public perception towards proclamation of emergency during Covid-19 pandemic / Ahmad Ridzalman Jamal ...[et al.]

Jamal, Ahmad Ridzalman and Dahalan, Faridah and Jemail, Amalina and Ariffin, Kamarul and Abd Kadir, Shamsiah (2021) An analysis of public perception towards proclamation of emergency during Covid-19 pandemic / Ahmad Ridzalman Jamal ...[et al.]. Journal of Media and Information Warfare (JMIW), 14 (2): 4. pp. 43-64. ISSN 1985-563X


Malaysia’s ruling regime has a lengthy history of manipulating security issues to achieve political goals,
as seen by its proclamations. As a result, rumours of Proclamations of Emergency to prevent the rapid
spread of COVID-19 cases emerged in October 2020, which the public viewed as an attempt to maintain
the ruling party’s authority. Citizens and political opponents both reacted negatively to the rumours.
The study reported in this paper attempted to understand public perceptions and perception management
toward tweets posted on Twitter and through the online survey with general society, that could be related
to the emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic, which could affect government administration in
dealing with social, political, and economic situations. To evaluate public perceptions and perception
management in the aforementioned conditions, this study used social media content analysis and an
online survey. The content was analysed using hashtags such as #Darurat, #KerajaanGagal, and
#Kitajagakita to gain insight into the concerns that were addressed among Twitter users. As a result,
three major topics have been identified in this research – i) public perceived the emergency as a political
move; ii) public perception towards the King; and iii) public perception on economic situation.
Meanwhile, the government’s perception management was identified using the Four Canonical
Information Warfare Strategies as a guide. As a result of this research, it was determined that the
government used two techniques to influence public perception on the concerns discussed, i.e., Denial
and Destruction. Following that, 702 people took part in an online survey released through Google
Forms. The findings revealed that 48.2 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the government’s
handling of the pandemic outbreak, while 40.2 percent are currently satisfied. Then, 55.3 percent of
respondents disagree that the government has managed the negative effects of the national and personal
economies properly, and 48.4 percent disagree that the government should extend the emergency
beyond August 1, 2021, which would jeopardise Malaysia’s economic resilience. Ultimately, the
public’s perceptions of the Proclamation of Emergency and the government’s management of the
matter, which is related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, were revealed in this study. The final set of public
perception and perception management issues investigated using content analysis on Twitter and an
online survey has provided insight into people’s sensitivity to the current topics highlighted.


Item Type: Article
Email / ID Num.
Jamal, Ahmad Ridzalman
Dahalan, Faridah
Jemail, Amalina
Ariffin, Kamarul
Abd Kadir, Shamsiah
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > Public opinion
Divisions: Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam > Faculty of Communication and Media Studies
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Media and Information Warfare (JMIW)
UiTM Journal Collections: UiTM Journal > Journal of Media and Information Warfare (JMIW)
ISSN: 1985-563X
Volume: 14
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 43-64
Keywords: Proclamation of Emergency, Public Perception, Perception Management, COVID-19
Date: December 2021
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