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KOTA KINABALU, Dec 16 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants the Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) election machinery to optimise the use of social media to win the hearts and minds of the voters, especially young voters in the coming general elections.
Ahmad Zahid, who is executing the duties of Umno deputy president, said the approach was necessary as the social media was very influential in shaping the perception of the voters as well as influencing the way they make decisions.
Furthermore, he said the social media was also widely used with up to 82 per cent of information and news to voters being conveyed via social media.
“Pistols or other weapons cannot be used to win hearts and minds (voters). Sharp weapons can only be found at the tip of the fingers and we must use them,” he said when opening the Sabah Umno Social Media Convention here today.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who is also Sabah Umno Liaison chief, Sabah Umno Liaison secretary Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin and Umno Information Technology Bureau chairman Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
Taking a lesson from the 12th and 13th general elections, Ahmad Zahid said the BN government was almost defeated in these two previous general elections due to the inability of the Umno and BN election machinery to fend off the slanders and false information that were widely disseminated by the opposition parties via social media.
He said as a result, it created a negative perception of the government by giving the impression that such defamatory and false news were true.
Ahmad Zahid said because of the failure to fend off these defamatory and false news, the government was punished by public opinion.
Hence, he said Umno and BN election machinery should address all slanders and false news of the opposition parties by using the social media platform to ensure the failure of the Umno and BN’s social media in the last election was not repeated.
However, he said, unlike the opposition parties, Umno would not use social media to spread lies and false news and instead would use facts that were true and authentic for the people to discern.
Ahmad Zahid also commended Sabah Umno IT Bureau, which he described as among the best state Umno liaisons. — Bernama