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Reps want Umno to be more aggressive on social media

Umno delegates have expressed their uneasiness over the dumping of false information on issues relating to the party and the government on social media which can create negative perceptions.

According to them, issues such as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion political fund deposited into Prime Minister's personal bank accounts had been distorted, especially by the opposition.

If the current 'war of perception' is not addressed properly, it can affect Umno ahead of the 14th general elections, they added.

Umno Youth exco member Fathul Bari Mat Jahya said it's time for Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) to be more aggressive to explain current issues to avoid the public from being influenced by the opposition's propaganda.

"Umno and BN should be at the forefront in the use of social media. At the moment, we are lagging far behind the opposition, and should stop being too defensive," he said.

Fathul Bari said the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion political fund issues had been explained many times but there were many who seemed reluctant to accept the explanation as "it was not done aggressively".

Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the war of perception was regarded as the biggest challenge for Umno in which certain issues were deliberately exploited and exaggerated.

Puteri Umno exco member Norsabrina Mohd Noor said the wing was preparing a special website that would contain political facts to be used in countering negative perceptions.

She said the website would answer all political issues involving Umno or the government.

"It will be the reference page for political issues. We want to load all the facts and clarify issues such as the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion political fund which had often been explained," she said.

Political analyst Assoc Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said there were shortcomings in the way the government, Umno and BN tackle negative perceptions from the people.

"Umno needs to set up its own social media team that will work on a full-time basis. Currently, they have the cybertroopers who serve on an ad hoc basis, but it often backfires.

"They need to set up a strategic team. The government has made many efforts but they are not enough... the government has its infomation team, Umno and other component parties should have theirs," he said.

- Bernama