Treating and Healing Malaysia: A Critical Metaphor Analysis on Najib Razak’s Metaphors

Authors: Farrah Diebaa Rashid Ali (International Islamic University, Malaysia)
Speakers: Farrah Diebaa Rashid Ali
Strand: Language Ideologies
Session Type: General Session


This paper discusses the vocational roles constructed by Najib Razak, the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia for himself, the government, and the relational identities for the people and others in nine Supply Bills read by him (2010 – 2018). This study was modelled upon Charteris-Black’s Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) and Sack’s Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA) as frameworks. The findings showed that Najib Razak and the government played the role as a medical doctor while the people and others have been conceptualised as patients and pre-term babies, suffering from global economic downturn, Asian Financial Crisis, global economic recession, poverty and bribery. The people and others as patients have to depend on the government for health and recovery. This further emphasises the independent, heroic role played by the government and the weak, dependent role expected of the people and others. Through these metaphors, the people were reminded that without the government to treat and heal the people and other, it is impossible for the country to develop ‘healthily’. Therefore, the use of metaphors in the Supply Bills has served the predicative, empathetic, ideological and mythical purposes.

Keywords: Conceptual metaphor, Political identity, Prime minister, Discourse and ideology