Auditor-General’s 2012 Report (2)
Oct 1, 2013
The Health Ministry’s decision to brand smokers as ‘stupid’ in promotional literature cost it RM38,750 after the material was deemed unsuitable for distribution.
The Auditor-General’s Report 2012 states that the ministry had ordered 300 backpacks costing RM19,500 and 3,500 notepads at RM19,250 with the slogan ‘Smoking, a stupid habit for stupid people’.
But the items never made it into the hands of the citizens as the language was later deemed inappropriate.
But the lingual faux pas was not the ministry’s only mistake.
The report also notes that 63,000 of the ministry’s campaign posters worth more than RM31,200 had spelling mistakes.
The auditor-general advised the ministry to use simpler language in its materials, noting that one of its AIDS campaign billboards had translated a phrase in English in verbatim and was difficult to understand in Malay.
This reads ‘Ke arah eliminasi transmisi vertikal’ (Towards the elimination of vertical transmission).
The complicated language, states the report, has affected the effectiveness of conveying the message of the health campaign.
‘Vertical transmitted infection’ refers to infection that is passed from mother to child.
The ministry, in its reply, said it has since appointed an editorial team to check all its campaign materials and that it would also refer to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka for advice.