PAS readies new media troopers for next GE

(The Malaysian Insider) – PAS is rallying its “cybertroopers” in preparation for an upcoming general election that it says is shaping up to be “an information war.”

“The world that we live in today is in a constant information war, news war.

“If we fall behind in conveying our messages, we will lose out,” PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang told The Malaysian Insider after closing the party’s ICT and New Media Conference yesterday.

About 500 of the party’s “hardcore” ICT officers from all over the country attended the day-long event, which appeared to address rival Umno’s growing army of cybertroopers.

“We will use every means possible — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, offline TV, online TV. We want ICT officers to have smartphones, no more outdated phones,” the Marang MP said.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) controls or owns most of the mainstream print and broadcast media.

BN had its nose bloodied at the 12th General Election in urban centres such as the Klang Valley and Penang, ceding its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament as the Opposition took a record 82 seats and, at the same time, five state governments.

BN is said to have lost its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament and five states in the historic March 2008 elections due to easy access to alternative information on the Internet.

Umno Youth new media chief Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz has said that “80 to 90 per cent” of those online were anti-BN in the landmark election of 2008.

“Our target by the next election is for all division youth chiefs to be on Twitter and for every state to have their own cyberwar team,” he said in an interview with The Malaysian Insider.