Social Media A Game Changer in GE13


(The Choice) – A select group of top Malaysian bloggers and social media trendsetters gathering at the Putra World Trade Centre got a powerful call to action over the weekend from a high ranking minister.


The message was simple but could be a game changer in GE13: when it comes to social media and politics, do what’s best for the country!

The speech was a call for clarity from Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim addressing those gathering for the World Blogging and Social Media Awards 2012.

He urged the social media “influencers” in the room to use their clout to expose obvious opposition lies.

Rais spoke passionately to an audience filled with many of Malaysia’s top bloggers saying, “What should we impart besides reaching out on blogs, Twitter and so on. We should not lose sight of cultural input, identity and how best to contribute to nation building”.

With GE13 whistling around the corner, Rais reminded the savvy assembly of their responsibility to spread the truth.

At GE12, social media was in its infancy. Now it’s a game changer. Dr Rais asked the group to step up to the responsibility and blog real issues instead of wasting time promoting myths, propaganda and outright lies.

The Minister’s message couldn’t have been better timed. It came at the end of a week where Malaysians heard their country insulted on the world stage, by Anwar.

Social media and established print media blew up when de facto Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim went into martyr mode and painted a curious picture during a radio interview in Dubai, describing Malaysia as a “state of oppression”.

Those listening to the broadcast got a police state dictatorship impression of our country, thanks to Anwar.

Their key takeaway was not of a Malaysia as a vibrant, democratic nation, poised towards future growth and prosperity. No, according to Anwar, Malaysia is an oppressed nation. This is fairly ironic; given that just hours later Anwar barred blogger Raja Petra from a Wikileaks debate. So much for freedom of expression!

Sadly, the Dubai radio interviewer did little to refute Anwar’s myths. In fact, he made it worse by seeming to sympathise with Anwar. This clueless mat salleh, named Phil Blizzard, is a great example of what happens when basic research or fact checking does not take place. Or, perhaps, he simply belonged to the roster of subjective Anwar-friendly journalists that have been cultivated in the past.

This reporter was a de facto tool for the de facto Opposition leader.

On the other hand, maybe some sympathy towards Anwar is warranted.

What does he have to play with? Certainly, no jointly agreed and publicly announced manifesto or shadow cabinet like an opposition would have in most other democratic parliamentary systems. He has no cohesive coalition or even concrete and detailed policy ideas. He seems content to operate with the politics of negativity. Permanent attack mode at home and Nelson Mandela martyr mode abroad.

Anwar is looking a bit overblown these days. Hopefully the bloggers touched by Dr Rais will help set Opposition falsehoods straight in the buildup to GE13.