My two cents on the #NajibCNY issue and how they got your email (and SMS?)

A few days ago, a couple of people received and email from our Prime Minister @NajibRazak wishing them a happy Chinese New Year. Naturally, many were concerned on where he obtain their email addresses.

At first I thought it was sent to people/bloggers who signed up for his tea parties and dinners that he has organized to meet and greet his online friends. This was not the case. Neither was it sent out to people who registered to vote. (full article in BM here) later reported that the email was obtained from “media prima database and others”. This information was in fact given by the CEO of Media Prima himself @FaridRidzuan stating “Congrats! Its from our media prima database and others. He just want to reach out to as many malaysian personally from now on! Please reply to him” (source).

It’s surprising how Malaysia’s leading media investment group who owns numerous tv stations, press and radio stations could blatantly ignore or forget about confidentiality and privacy issues. Not to mention that, on the Terms of Use page of TV3, it states the following :

  • Information Use
      • The Personal Information you provide will help our team deliver user support (including processing any complaints or enquiries) and for any other purpose related to the operation of our websites, its services and its advertising.
  • Passing on Your Data to Third Parties
    • We will not sell, lease or share your Personal Information except as set forth in this Privacy Notice.


For some, its not a big issue. In fact, I came across my MrKay’s facebook posting where his friend was saying or implying that its not a big deal and that we were blowing it out of proportion. In fact, she said, and i quote “if you think emel is privacy and you dont think uninvited people can send it to you…stop using email..just use snailmail.”


My response to this was was below:

“Adda, the issue here is not about him emailing the greetings. If he emailed it to all the people who signed up for something like the Tea Party then it’s understandable how he got your email.

In this case, it’s clearly stated that it was taken from the media prima and other databases. When you sign up for these sites, they usually have a disclaimer that your info is private and will be not shared to a 3rd party.

What if other info is also shared? Your phone number? Your mailing address? Would you like to receive spam SMSes? Or tons of letters? The other question is, who else has media prima shared this information to? Other companies? Other government bodies?

According to your logic of “takyah la Pakai email”, then why be online at all? No néed to FB, chat, surf. The thing is, we can’t. Coz that’s whr the future is. Also, isn’t it ironic that the govt is pushing for maximum Internet penetration in the country when they can’t guarantee the privacy of the data?

Please Try to think Beyond your little scope and think of the implications of what this information sharing means to you and the privacy of your data.”

p/s: Urgh, I hate this “you tak suka, you keluar” mentality

Edit : 01 Feb 2010

Some update for today. Apparently some people received an SMS with NajibCNY wishes as below:

Salam 1Malaysia. Selamat Tahun Baru Cina kepada semua rakyat Malaysia. Ikhlas dari Najib Razak & keluarga.

Screenshots below from @nicklwc and @ChelsiaNg

Apparently not every mobile user received it. I’m also not sure if there is any correlation between receiving the email & receiving the SMS. Some people who received the SMS did not receive the email or vice versa. (re: @hewyk @atreyustrange @hawkstah). Some people received both (re: @nicklwc @azrinarizz @wernshen @saldali707 @spectreoutreach).

What are your thoughts on this issue?