Penang Harapan Braces For Green Wave Reps Want Counter Measures
Perikatan Nasional’s massive win in the Padang Serai election in Kedah has prompted neighbouring Penang to raise the alarm as the “green wave” shows no signs of abating.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has predicted that Pakatan Harapan could lose six or seven seats in the upcoming state polls based on the trend seen in last month’s general election.
Although this would not threaten Harapan’s control of the state, he reportedly said the coalition’s hold on Penang would not be as formidable as before.
In the 15th general election, PN won 14 out of 15 parliamentary seats in Kedah. In Penang, two BN strongholds - Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor fell to the nascent coalition, which included PAS and Bersatu.
The biggest upset in Penang happened in Permatang Pauh where Harapan chairperson Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Izzah was defeated by PN’s Fawwaz Md Jan.
The Permatang Pauh seat has been in Anwar’s family since 1982.
Former Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah AnwarThe above-mentioned three seats in Penang are semi-rural constituencies with more than 70 percent of Malay voters.
If the trend continues, it is possible that PN would be able to sweep the Malay-majority seats in the state election.
The Election Commission’s (EC) electoral roll as of September showed that 26 out of 40 state seats in Penang are mixed constituencies where Malay voters do not form the majority whereas another 14 have 60 percent or more Malay voters.
Among the 14 Malay-majority seats, 11 are on the mainland.
Stepping up TikTok strategies
In view of the looming “green wave”, two Penang lawmakers urged the state Harapan to be more aggressive and proactive in improving its propaganda and communication strategies to counter PN’s “fear tactics” along racial and religious lines.
Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik claimed PN was attempting to spook the Malays with allegations that non-Malays, non-Muslims and even communists will control the country.
“This is their propaganda. If you listen to the speeches by (PN chairperson) Muhyiddin Yassin, (PAS president) Abdul Hadi Awang or Kedah Menteri Besar (Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor), there is nothing much apart from creating fear,” the Penang PKR deputy chairperson told Malaysiakini.
Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan ChikTherefore, Bakhtiar emphasised stepping up Harapan’s communication strategies, especially on platforms such as TikTok to counter its opponent’s narrative.
“When I went to villages during the campaign, I found youngsters always on their phones watching TikTok videos. This is something we need to work hard on.
“Of course, we cannot ban TikTok but we need to somehow control the content on the platform, especially those spreading slander and false accusations,” he added.
On Wednesday, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said he is looking into strengthening existing laws to better regulate provocative, violent or extremist social media content without compromising free speech.
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi FadzilHe said that during his meeting with TikTok representatives, he was presented with data on how many provocative videos were automatically removed by TikTok’s system during and after GE15.
Between Nov 12 and 18, TikTok removed 857 videos, while 1,126 videos were taken down between Nov 20 and 26.
Amanah’s Permatang Pasir assemblyperson Faiz Fadzil also censured PN for “fanning racial and religious sentiments” as well as “disseminating misinformation” during the election campaign.
“The accusations of communists, Israeli agents and such things are all lies made up of nothing.
“The Penang government needs to be serious about this campaign tactic if they want to maintain an absolute majority in the state because they are all mainly attacking DAP,” he said.
Permatang Pasir assemblyperson Faiz FadzilFaiz urged the state coalition to improve its publicity machinery and suggested that it produces short videos to promote the policies and actions taken with regard to the Malay community.
“The political narrative also needs to be improved. It must be more aggressive from the content and communication perspective,” he added.
At the same time, Faiz said the state coalition must double its efforts on the religious front to prevent PN from “spreading false information” through religious channels.
He called on the state government to take stern action against preachers who incite racial and religious sentiments so that the public is no longer confused.
“We also need more religious leaders to explain to the people that the racial sentiments played up by PN is slander (against Harapan),” he added. - Mkini
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