Media Prima's RIPPLE offers aid to Malaysians amidst growing #benderaputih movement

Media Prima's RIPPLE has launched an initiative together with Media Prima Group under TV3's programme, Bersamamu, to offer aid to Malaysians who have been impacted by the recent EMCO announcement. Titled "Bersamamu #KitaJagaKita" (together with you, we look out for each other), the campaign invites listeners who require help to WhatsApp its radio stations - Fly FM, Hot FM, One FM and Kool FM - and share their situation. Chosen listeners will be assisted with monetary aid amounting to RM200 each.

RIPPLE CEO Nazri Noran said the initiative aims to provide some relief to Malaysians who are affected. "We took this approach to ensure that we help supplement whatever assistance that is currently given and make certain that none of our fellow Malaysian citizens are left out. Therefore, we hope that this campaign will help them, albeit small," he added.

Nazri was recently named CEO, joining from Astro where he was senior AVP of Astro Radio Malay and Tamil. At the same time, Aaron Pinto and Jake Abdullah also joined the company as chief content officer and consultant respectively.

RIPPLE's latest initiative comes as Malaysians recently started the #benderaputih (white flag) movement to help those in need of food and essentials. According to multiple media reports, those who desperately require assistance should fly a white flag or cloth outside their homes. Malaysia went into a full lockdown again in 1 June and the movement control was since extended past 28 June. More recently on 3 July, several localities in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were met with an Enhanced Movement Control Order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On a similar note, Astro has launched a Kami Care Helpline, available for vulnerable Malaysians to send in their requests for help via WhatsApp to all Astro Radio brands. They will receive daily necessities such as rice, sugar, salt, flour, biscuits, tea, canned food and instant noodles. Astro added that all Malaysians in need can submit their requests on WhatsApp anytime daily via the Kami Care Helpline numbers, and listeners can also send in their requests on behalf of others who require assistance.

Amidst growing desperation as many struggle to put food on the table due to an indefinite lockdown that has resulted in job losses and slashed income, the #benderaputih campaign has gained traction and support since June 28. Brands and some individuals such as actor Sharnaaz Ahmad and rapper Altimet have rallied to show support and contribute to the cause. Malaysia Animal Association was also inspired by the movement and launched its red flag movement, encouraging pet owners who are struggling to buy food for their pets to reach out by raising a red flag, reported Malay Mail.

Meanwhile, RIPPLE’s “Bersamamu #kitajagakita” is reminiscent of the #kitajagakita movement that was first introduced in March 2020. According to The Star, the movement was first initiated by Malaysian author Hanna Alkaf and a group of volunteers. The self-organised group joined forces to launch the kitajagakita website, which sought to be a “one-stop shop” for Malaysian civil society Covid-19 efforts. The website aimed to “collect, verify and list initiatives done on the ground to help vulnerable communities and medical frontliners through the MCO, making it easy for people to donate and share beyond social media space”, as reported previously by The Star.

According to Malay Mail, there were more than 400 suicide cases recorded in the first five months of this year. Police investigations cited family problems, emotional pressure and finances as the three main causes for these cases. SCMP reported that though the Malaysian government has put in place a fresh set of stimulus measures, the first tranche of government aid will not be disbursed until August, even though many require immediate help. Community organisers thus said that the #benderaputih campaign was “the clearest sign yet of the economic despair that hundreds of thousands of Malaysia’s lower-income families have experienced amid the haphazard approach of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government to the public health crisis”, said SCMP.