Umno lawyers to assist BN reps on defamation cases, says Abdul Rahman Dahlan

CYBERJAYA, March 8 — A team of Umno lawyers has been set up to assist Barisan Nasional elected representatives take legal action against those who spread false and defamatory rumours about them on social media.

BN Strategic Communications Director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the legal team would be ready with all the necessary documents, including the identification of the parties who spread slander to distort the facts.

“To all YBs (Yang Berhormat/Honourable) and ministers, if they think they have been defamed and news portals are not keen on retracting or fixing the story, then legal action should be taken,” he said when extending the offer.

Abdul Rahman, who is Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, spoke to reporters at the Malaysian Social Media Week Summit at the LimKokWing University of Creative Technology here today.

He was one of the speakers at a “Response and Recovery” panel session with National Head of Information Technology, Bharatiya Janata Party, Arvind Gupta.

The session’s moderator was Christel Quek, Vice-President Asia Pacific Brandwatch.

When asked about negative response on social media towards the #RespectMyPM hashtag, Abdul Rahman said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak “is not losing any sleep over the issue”.

Dismissing the issue as trivial, he instead questioned when was the last time Pakatan Rakyat had come up to address policy matters.

“Are you not concerned with the stand on the economy, energy, and social policy?” They (the Opposition) only attack us on social media, dehumanise us, and sow hatred. That is not politics.

“You don’t want someone to vote for you because the other candidate is bad.

You want to get their vote because you have a better alternative than the other side,” he added.

During the panel session earlier, Abdul Rahman had called on LimKokWing University to conduct a study based on Malaysians’ attitude and behaviour on believing certain issues by just reading the headline or title of the news.

“The United Kingdom government has conducted similar study, and with this study, it has helped people who have been defamed to bring matters to the court,” he said.

Abdul Rahman also said that the government was looking into ways of transforming WhatsApp messages into infographics for fast understanding among the younger generation who do not like to read long messages.

Meanwhile, Gupta said WhatsApp, the cross-platform mobile messaging application, would be the next wave to penetrate to greater heights among citizens compared with Facebook and Twitter during the Indian election in 2019.

Besides touching briefly on the social media crisis, Gupta reminded leaders and individuals to engage with audiences using the same approach the issue had been played.

“If they use WhatsApp, then you should engage and reply through WhatsApp as soon as possible and not use traditional ways to reply,” he said. — Bernama