STRONG SUPPORT: A cross section of the 6,000 people attending the SUPP Convention.
by Samuel Aubrey. Posted on January 17, 2011, MondayKUCHING: Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties must conquer cyberspace if they were to win back the support of the urban and young voters, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday.
He said the BN components should by now realise that they were at present dealing with a different society because more and more Malaysians were now getting active in the cyberspace and shaped their opinions based on what they read in the blogs.
According to him, present records show that Malaysians have the highest number of people in Facebook, and they are among one of the highest users of Twitter in the world.
Malaysians’ active participation in cyberspace was also helped by the 100 per cent mobile phone penetration in the country, he pointed out.
“So, you’re dealing with a different society.
“Yes, we lost the cyber space war in the last election (in 2008), but we can’t lose it again. The question is, what are we doing about it?
“I’m doing my part. I have my own Facebook. I have more than half a million of friends and I hope to reach one million in the near future. When I launched ‘tanyanajib’ Twitter, it became the fifth most active Twitter in the world within a short period of time.
“It means that we can engage the young people … I believe the young people are not rejecting us, the young people are not anti-establishment.
“The young people want us to engage them and understand what they want us to do for them as the young people of this country,” he said at the opening of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Convention here.
Najib, who is national BN chairman, said he supported any move by SUPP to form cyber units to win the support of the people, especially the more sophisticated urban community.
He pointed out that the urban people were not after politics of development, adding they were most interested in politics of quality of life as well as good governance and fair distribution of opportunities. He said he had witnessed for himself in Sibu parliamentary by-election last year that the announcement of allocations and projects alone could not win the support from the urban people.
“In the urban areas where SUPP is the party we rely on to get support from the urban community, there is a more complex society that is not relying on politics of development nor relying on politics of approving government allocation.
“As I witnessed myself in the Sibu parliamentary by-election in May last year, the announcement of a few million ringgit for Chinese schools during the by-election did not guarantee support from the Chinese community.
“Why? Because the mindset has changed. Therefore, you (BN parties) have to understand now what is it that the people want.
“It’s not what you think they want, but it’s what the people really want.
“Because what you want may not be what the people really want,” he said. Earlier, SUPP president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is a deputy chief minister, said the party was very eager to join in the cyber challenge.
“I hope all the component parties will enter the fray together. It used to be a gimmick. Now, it is the ‘in’ thing,” he said.
He said the BN would face new challenges from the young and middle-aged voters in the urban areas who not only wanted development and economic opportunities, but also fair play, transparency, efficiency and good governance.
“They will express their desires and unhappiness through the electronic media. Cyberspace will be the battle ground for future government. BN has lost the first battle in cyberspace in 2006, we must not and should not lose the second,” he said.
Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfed Jabu and leaders of other BN components were also present at the opening of SUPP Convention were.
More than 6,000 delegates from SUPP branches across the state attended the one-day convention which was held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).