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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?


  • Rodz

    Our country is getting scary day by days, we will not know what other private informations will leaked by them next, phone number, ic number etc.. *sigh* On the side note, they breach their Term of use meaning they can be sued right? ;p *that’s just a joke*

  • Nigel

    Yea i agree Adda has big mouth small brains. (: Kakak, kalo dia boleh dapat email you, he can get all your personal information too! So you mean, if he send you a snailmail after he get ur house address, you’ll say ” tak suka jangan beli rumah la”? Ape logiknya adda?

    Under the law of cyberworld, emails are considered one of the infos that are private and should only be revealed by sites under the agreement of the owner himself. So adda with small brains, go open up a law book or just wikipedia it. You’ll get the answer. Main facebook hari hari ape faedahnya? (:

  • Naoko

    I’m now kinda glad that I didn’t sign up for Media Prima and other places. Damn, and then they want to create a Digital Privacy Bill. Hmm… I wonder if consumers have a right to sue/make a complaint against Media Prima for this under the Digital Privacy act?

  • FunGuy

    I was intrigued at first of all this hooha with email database and all.

    I guess if the argument here is that if Media Prima went against its terms of conditions, then that is definitely an issue. But then after reading the terms and conditions further I think you missed out on another note :

    :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.

    · Where you have elected to receive promotional information, we may also use your Personal Information (including your email address and phone number) to provide you with information regarding any products, services and promotions offered by us and selected third parties that may be of interest to you.

    I guess Media Prima has already set that forth in their terms and conditions. I’m not a lawyer and the clause seems very broad but they do have a case and argument on their part as this might be interpreted as “services offered by selected third parties that might be of interest to you”.

    I’m neutral in this. I think we Malaysians tend to blow things out of proportion. I actually got multiple #najibcny emails. I receive tens of spam in my emails daily. I just choose to ignore them. Another 2 or 3 spam will not disrupt my life and the world will not end.

    But I on the other hand am glad to actually get that email. It did put a smile on my face. It shows his sincerity and his stories oh his childhood. It didn’t ask me to buy anything or to promote anything. I’m not a supporter of any political parties but I think he did something good here. Just my opinion.

    • IcedNyior

      You’re right on the T&C part being broad. They could mention that they did share this information to the PM’s office as part of the “third party that might be of interest”

      Thanks for your POV

    • Hawk

      I don’t think its blown out of proportion. Its just that the problem has become so ubiquitous that no one cares anymore. The selling of personal data is common practice here, even if the terms/privacy policy says otherwise, been in the industry long enough to know information gets sold anyway.

      I can’t agree with you regarding sincerity. If you think this is sincerity, I seriously hope you do not vote. Sincerity is him actually doing something that matters to the people, not blasting out spam to show he “cares”.

      This is simply a cheap publicity stunt, which is being achieved by dirty and unethical practice. He has just put himself on the same level as a Nigerian scammer, is that really the kind of person you want running the country?

  • blogjunkie

    Exactly! This is a problem with Malaysians, they think it’s ok to send email to whatever address they can find. Is there an anti-spam law in Malaysia? We should take our dear PM up on that.

    • Jibone

      Hey Blogjunkie, lets say if you don’t know me in person, but I am your number one fan and reads your blog religiously. So it’s Chinese New Year and I decided to send you an email, a CNY greeting with some stories about my childhood. Oh and I do this to let’s say 1000 of other bloggers because I have tons of free time.

      Is that spam? I can’t do that? Because it’s not ok to send email to just any email addresses I found, right? :(

      If that is the case than this email thingy sucks… I’ll just stick to twitter and @ reply you my CNY greetings instead :p

      • Hawk

        If 1000 of those messages are the same, yes its spam. Your e-mail is unsolicited. Not to mention sending the same message to so many people shows insincerity.

  • Jonathan Fun

    Thanks for the info Nyior.

    I was not aware that the email database was obtained by Media Prima.

    My issue is that if they have stated clearly in their privacy policy that the information obtained will not be sold, lease and shared with other parties, then by doing so, they have violated their own principles and have officially opened themselves up for a lawsuit.

    It is always wise to provide as little private information about yourself as possible, especially in a country that doesn’t value privacy much.

  • IcedNyior

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me clarify that its said that the emails are obtained from Media Prima database and OTHERS. So it could be any other site you’ve registered to

  • Thomas Chai

    This is definitely an invasion of privacy. I can’t believe Media Prima would release all those emails when their company policy clearly states that they won’t. Same thing applies to SMS…..

  • Cyril Dason

    Our private information should be only made available when we want it to, and not sold to them any how. Regardless of the PM’s arguments and intentions, its just wrong to outsource information from third parties without the consent of the owner.

    This reminds me of the Credit Card and Insurance telephone promos. Urgghh… Annoying!

    A breach of privacy, and I too agree with you on the “you tak suka, you keluar” mentality. it sucks, and its just individualistic.

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