BN repeating same costly mistakes of 2018, says Najib’s ex-aide

(FMT) – Umno and its allies in Barisan Nasional appear to be making the same mistakes as in the 2018 election that led to their ouster, says a former communications consultant to Najib Razak.

Romen Bose, who wrote a book on BN’s fall, said: “It appears that the same people and groups responsible for the disastrous branding and election strategies that led to BN’s defeat are back at it again.”

He said: “Several of these old school politicians still harbour the privately held belief that social media is all hype and that meetings with the grassroots, organising dinners and dishing out aid will be enough to win the hearts and minds of voters.”

“Although much lip service is being paid to the need for greater social media engagement, the reality is that some potential candidates don’t even have updated Facebook pages, much less any real presence on social media platforms.”

He said younger voters were likely to be the kingmakers at the coming general election, given the large number who will now be able to cast their ballots compared to 2018.

The main mode to reach them is through online platforms, he said. It was no secret that this group of voters does not tune in to conventional media as most of their information sources and influencers are all online.

However BN appeared to lack investment in a proper social media communications infrastructure and distribution strategy. “It doesn’t matter how good or important your message is if the very people who need to hear it and see it are not being targeted.”

However, the opposition had also not been able to focus and ride a wave of voter anger and dissatisfaction as it had done in 2018 with the 1MDB scandal.

“Our analysis indicates that younger Malaysians today want more than just handouts and free meals during elections. And they are not driven by anger. It is a very practical mindset.

“They want to know what the candidate has done or will do for them and what they or their party will deliver,” he said.

Bose said younger Malaysians also wanted to know how “you are going to make their lives and those of their family better.”

“Are you promising them a significant reduction in the cost of living, more and better jobs, a stable and growing economy, improved education and opportunities? If you can’t get these messages across, they are likely to vote for someone who does.”