Barisan National has been forewarned that the coalition party is grossly lacking on the cybersphere and social media platforms in the age of information are being shared at 4G connectivity, Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said launching Wanita UMNO IT outfit yesterday.
NST online story:
Studies reveal most cybertroopers in M’sia are anti-BN: DPM
BY ADRIAN LAI – 22 JANUARY 2017 @ 8:15 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: An overwhelming majority of cybertroopers operating in the country are against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today.
He said according to a recent study, only 6.6 per cent of the country’s cybertroopers are supportive of BN, while the rest are anti-establishment.
“This means that for every pro-BN cybertrooper, there are 15 others who are working against the government,” he said when launching Wanita Umno’s Skuad Komunikasi dan Media here today. As a result, and according to another study conducted by a group of academicians, 87 per cent of Malaysians hold negative perceptions of BN, he said.
“We almost lost the 12th and 13th general elections because we failed to create a presence on social media,” Zahid said, adding that Umno must work harder to win the war of perception against the opposition.
It is understood that Zahid, who is also Umno vice-president, will disclose the research papers he cited to the media at a later date.
The material consideration in this statement is not about the 6.6% but BN is is seriously lacking on this ‘information democracy’ front, where information travel both ways in unimaginable speed, volume, depth and naturally, spread. Quotes are on in video format and live streaming is improving by the week.
It is true that BN suffered immensely, translated from the opinion and perception casted on the party in 12GE and 13GE. The advancement of communication technology in terms of platform, enabler apparatus, connectivity and growth of social media were the enablers pf the new found ‘ICT democracy’.
Cyber and online perception, mainly through the exponential growth of users prior to both GE particularly amongst the urbanites, educated, professional and internet savvy and connected, changed the political landscape.
BN was terribly shaken in the 12GE where the party lost control in five state governments (plus the majority of seats in Wilayah Persekutuan) and inadvertently, the psychological 2/3 power in Dewan Rakyat.
In slightly over 51 years of sovereign nation, the Chinese chauvinist and anti-Malay and anti-Islam party formed a State Government and there on, the Chief Minister accompanies HE TYT Governor at the Council of Rulers meeting.
Parties like UMNO scrambled to balance the gross lacking in then the ‘new media’ and started to recruit an army of cyber troopers, mainly on the SOPO blog arena to fill in the gap (in the interpretation of some of the ambitious leaders trying to capitalise on the lack of online warfare capability).
The effort for UMNO, which is interesting combination of volunteers, recruited and some measly funded keyboard warriors managed to create an army of ‘infantry cyber-troopers’. Some more specialised and productive groups were derived and working with upstream information providers mean that they did gain some grounds in the online psychological-warfare.
However there were some gross lacking, which were never properly rectified even there was enough opportunity, space and resources till the 13GE.
A few example is the the depth of the subject matter and how the analysis could be stretched in getting more attention and debate, mostly by the intended target such as the urbanites, educated, professionals and connected savvy lot. Most of issues raised and scrummed over are trivial.
The ability to control the social media fields in the English language was also lacking when there is the argument about UMNO cybertroopers. This is the segment where the urbanites, professional and biggest user of internet per capita. This segment mostly is in the category apolitical and fence sitters.
The lack of strong, convincing and timely rebuttals whenever the Opposition take online a challenge, manipulation, skewed and biased opinions, lies and slanders, eventually demonstrated to BN’s worsening performance at 13GE in the urban and semi-urban constituencies.
The Opposition and the support system to their cause like NGOs, likeminded activists and loud individuals managed positioned themselves as opinion leaders, enabled by the cybersphere and social media platforms to the fullest.
Off late, foreign mainstream media added to the thorny fight against perception and trust deficit, suffered by BN leaders.
Naturally there would be issues more prevalent to territorial in nature such as co-ordination, face-saving (if involved certain high ranking party officials, who is also one of the major backers of the UMNO cyber-trooper groups), local and territorial sensitivities and the list is endless.
Dr. Ahmad Zahid is sounding out on this matter which should not to be taken lightly and based on expected party strategy and best guestimated opportunity for the 14GE, there is enough time to improve.
Perhaps getting an equal standing against the Opposition would be a little too wishful but not withstanding allocating the proper resources, which include the right people and tools, might provide a worthy chance in the game.