'Through aggressive initiatives, Barisan Nasional (BN) has managed to narrow down the Pakatan Rakyat’s dominance in social media, said a political observer.
Political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said, however, that PR is slightly better at delivering issues strategically through the new media as they are seen as more organised and well structured.
According to foreign-based news portal Inter Press Service (IPS), one of the factors that had precipitated the loss of BN's two-thirds majority in parliament during the 2008 General Election was the spread of Internet-based social media as a campaigning tool, harnessed primarily by the opposition.
"The proliferation of independent websites and blogs such as Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini rendered the ruling coalition’s propaganda machinery less effective during the electoral race, as formidable opponents appeared in the crucial arena of cyberspace," wrote Ramanathan Sankaran, author of 'Media, Democracy and Civil Society'.
However, IPS said that when Najib took over the government in 2009, there was a significant focus on the Internet by the government which has taken them to par with PR's machinery.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also added the value to the ruling government when he initiated a forum with bloggers around the nation in May 2009.
Calling them the Fifth Estate, Dr Mahathir, himself a blogger, emphasised the importance of bloggers as a tool to spread facts and figures about issues relevant to the nation.'
May continuing peace and tranquility prevail in Malaysia for generations to come...ameen