KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Former PKR MP Rafizi Ramli has claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity on social media is merely an elaborate stunt.

The former Pandan MP said people still have a negative perception of Najib regardless of his online reputation.

“When you ask voters or respondents,’ do you think negatively of this character or do you think positively of this character?’ Najib continues to have the most negative view from the public compared to other politicians.

“So far there’s nothing to suggest that he is really that popular. But I think he really choreographed everything. That means when he visits a certain place, he makes sure that he brings people, he makes sure people line up, and then he has a lot of people on his social media team who basically reply (or comment on his post).

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“It’s not only himself (that does all the stunt), that’s quite obvious and I think he has a lot of money to do it,” he told reporters after launching the “Ayuh Malaysia” campaign which focuses on livelihood issues.

Najib has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail for misappropriating RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former subsidiary of debt-riddled sovereign investment fund 1MDB, but is free to move about as his appeal is pending at the Federal Court.

The former prime minister is also on trial for a slew of other charges in connection with 1MDB.

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Rafizi also said that Najib’s “popularity” was the result of a lack of counter narrative from the opposition bloc to outshine the latter’s “Bossku” campaign.

He then stressed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is currently behind Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in terms of garnering voters’ support in online platforms.

He said that PH needs to step up their game in the digital political perception war because the majority of people are mostly informed through social media.

“That’s why 10 years ago, we were the winners and the pioneers of the digital perception war even until before the previous general election.

“If we were live on Facebook we can reach up to 50,000 views, and even my own live stream views can reach one million in a week. But for the last two or three years, we didn’t just lose but were battered (by the opponents),” he added.

Yesterday, Rafizi launched the ‘Ayuh Malaysia’ campaign to attract the support of voters on the fence as the country gears up for the 15th General Election (GE-15).

He said the decision to launch the campaign was taken after taking into account the results of the Johor state election and the views of various parties in PKR.