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Malaysia, Sarawak Politics

Active social media use a selection criterion for BN candidates!

WANT to be a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the next parliamentary election in Sarawak?

Well, you’d better be an active user of social media!

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said that active involvement in social media such as engaging with local communities through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms may be among the criteria for selecting potential BN candidates.

He pointed out that it is a challenge for elected representatives, as well as government and state agencies, to become more approachable and responsive to the people through social media interaction.

“The fact that they are actively involved, will add to additional marks that can be considered in future BN candidates,” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying during the Sarawak Social Media Association (SSMA) Social Media Convention themed ‘Connect and Engage’.

Datuk Seri Najib pointed out that there were so many opportunities for the government to explain what it had done, was doing and would do.

“There are also so many new ways for us to listen to what the rakyat are saying. But, we should never forget that, as with any tool, some people will use the Internet for negative purposes, as well as positive ones, and we must be alert to those who spread false information against us and make sure that the truth wins out,” he said.

“Quite simply, the rakyat is online, so we must be online, too. Where we used to send letters, now we must also send emails. Where we used to hold public debates, now we must debate with each other on blogs and social media. And, where we used to explain our beliefs in leaflets and posters, now we must do so with websites, videos and pictures.”

He also called for social media practitioners, especially in Sarawak, to intensify and amplify what the government is doing.

It is good to see that the PM, who uses blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms, actually knows what he is talking about.

Meanwhile, I also took to heart what Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said about using social media responsibly.

During the convention, the Chief Minister called on Sarawakians to compare and contrast information found online with situations on the ground.

He rightly pointed out that “the free flow of information” via the Internet had led to meddling from external sources, some of whom might misrepresent situations.

“Issues like more democratic freedom and care for the environment are actually very good values. They are, in fact, laudable objectives,” Pehin Sri Taib is quoted as saying.

“But some (bloggers and writers on the Internet) are confused. How much of the information on the Internet is sufficiently oriented to what is happening within the country’s boundaries? How much is actually related to the real questions facing people in the country?”

There are so many untruths online and it is about time that real facts are put online and allowed to speak for themselves.

Having elected representatives who engage actively online with the people will ensure that the real message gets through.

The Star’s report:

Candidates on Twitter more likely to be picked for GE

KUCHING: Prospective candidates with social media following are more likely to be picked to contest in the next general election, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said having a social media following was a boon to politicians in this “transition” era.

“It would add to their marks, so to speak, to be (selected) as Barisan candidates.

“I will consider the proposal, for it’s important but it’s not an absolute must,” Najib told a gathering of social media enthusiasts here yesterday.

The gathering was the first of its kind in Sarawak.

He was responding to the Sarawak Social Media Association’s 10-point resolution which, among others, called for all future Barisan candidates to be active social media users.

More than 500 people attended the half-day event.

Another resolution urged Barisan leaders to connect through the social media to engage the public as well as to proactively spread information, explain issues and defend government policies, among others.

Najib said he supported the association’s intent to organise the 1Malaysia Social Media Tour throughout Sarawak to engage social media practitioners in the state.

He added that he looked forward to meeting his 500,000th Twitter follower in two weeks, adding that he tweeted on a daily basis because he wanted to relay the Government’s achievements and his personal concerns on matters affecting the people.

The Bernama report:

Active Social Media Involvement Is Plus Factor For Potential BN Candidate – Najib

KUCHING, April 29 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, active involvement of social media practitioners in engaging local communities through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms could be considered a criteria for selecting potential Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates in the coming general election.

The BN chairman said it was one of the challenges being faced to see elected representatives, as well as government and state agencies, becoming more approachable and responsive to the people by increasing their interaction, via the social media.

“The fact that they (social media practitioners) are actively involved, will add to additional marks that can be considered in future BN candidates,” he said here when launching the Sarawak Social Media Convention Saturday.

The convention, themed ‘Connect and Engage’, was attended by 500 social media practitioners from throughout the state.

Najib was responding to the Sarawak Social Media Association’s (SSMA) 10-point resolution which was submitted to him and Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, by its president, Wan Abdillah Wan Abdul Rahman, recommending that it should be one of the criteria for a person to be nominated as candidate in the elections.

Describing himself as a transition generation saddled between “generations X and Y” when referring to Abdul Taib’s comment earlier that he was a “modern prime minister,” Najib said there were so many opportunities for the government to explain what it had done, was doing and would do.

“There are also so many new ways for us to listen to what the rakyat are saying. But, we should never forget that, as with any tool, some people will use the internet for negative purposes, as well as positive ones, and we must be alert to those who spread false information against us and make sure that the truth wins out,” he said.

As such, those, including himself, who were politically-minded, could not ignore the role of social media in elections and political campaigning as the internet had opened up a new front and challenging them to be pioneers in this emerging and exciting field.

“Quite simply, the rakyat is online, so we must be online, too. Where we used to send letters, now we must also send emails.

“Where we used to hold public debates, now we must debate with each other on blogs and social media. And, where we used to explain our beliefs in leaflets and posters, now we must do so with websites, videos and pictures,” said Najib.

Traditional institutions and media organisations must also adapt to such changes in how they communicated and accessed information, or else they would become irrelevant, he said.

Najib, who had been using blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms throughout his time as prime minister, said he had also informed all ministries to intensify engaging the rakyat using social media.

“In two weeks’ time, I am scheduled to meet some of my online friends, including my 500,000th Twitter follower as I had mentioned through Twitter,” he said, adding that it was an important part of his job because he was able to feel the rakyat’s sentiment directly, although there was always room to do more by constantly looking for new ways to use technology to strengthen that precious relationship between the government and the people.

He said there were already more than 12 million Facebook accounts in the country and it was his wish to see all the social media practitioners, especially in Sarawak, to intensify and amplify what the government was doing.

The Star’s report:

Taib urges social media enthusiasts to use Internet responsibly

KUCHING: Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud appeals to locals to compare and contrasts information found online with situations on the ground.

He told a gathering of social media enthusiasts here that “the free flow of information” via the Internet had led to meddling from external sources, some of whom might misrepresented situations.

“Issues like more democratic freedom and care for the environment are actually very good values. They are, in fact, laudable objectives,” Taib said the close of the Sarawak Social Media Convention 2012.

“But some (bloggers and writers on the Internet) are confused. How much of the information on the Internet is sufficiently oriented to what is happening within the country’s boundaries? How much is actually related to the real questions facing people in the country?”

The Chief Minister spoke about the relevance of the Internet in today’s society, saying he had no doubt that without the Internet, the Arab Spring would not have occurred. He said such social changes were “some good, some not so good” and that “society has been disrupted” by the Internet.

On the masses’ want for change, Taib said “world values” like greater democratic freedom was people’s way of expressing that they wanted to “build a better world” looking forward.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was guest of honour at the function, said plans for at least half of Sarawak to have high-speed Internet was on track.

Najib said 50% of Sarawak would have broadband by the end of this year, which would help bring the national high-speed Internet penetration to 75% by 2015.

“While there will soon be five million households with high-speed Internet, it is still a challenge to bring it to rural Sarawak. Nonetheless, the Government views such development as running parallel to basic infrastructures like water and electricity supply,” Najib said.

“In just 10 years, things have changed so much because of the Internet. It has mobilised the masses. These days, you have smart phones that are more powerful than the dial-up Internet computers we used to have,” the Prime Minister added.

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