PETALING JAYA: It is the era of social media elections – and politicians across the divide are fully using the platform to drive their agenda.
While politicians used to depend heavily on banners and bunting to make themselves and their work more visible, they are now leveraging on tweets, wall posts, videos and have even set up apps on their campaign trail.
Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become vital political players in helping politicians build an online presence without having to fork out a lot of money.
Lenggong MP Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah created his own mobile application called Sayangi Lenggong, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Voters using the app will be able to air their grouses, text or call him directly, read his latest statements, watch his videos and have links to his social media and work photo galleries since 2008.
“I don’t go down to meet the people just during the election season. I believe that this will help me reach out to younger voters, as they are more tech savvy.
“But at the same time, I still touch base with voters at the kampung,” he said.
MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has been using social media and traditional campaigning methods to deliver her message to the people.
“We also go to the villages to register senior folk for free reading glasses. We are focusing to promote and construct the eco-tourism blueprint for Raub (Pahang) which is our main focus.
“In Raub, we focus most on having a more personal touch when we meet the people at our programmes,” she said.
Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, known for his acting chops and witty videos, recorded a Chinese New Year clip with his son Jibreil in Rembau where he talked about the symbolism of fish dishes this year. It has more than 500,000 views.
His political branding is also done on Twitter and Instagram, where he has more than 2.3 million and 845,000 followers respectively.
Seri Setia state assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad has also grown his audience and maintains a strong online presence.
From blogging during his campaign trail in the 2008 election when he was just 26, Nik Nazmi now has three online shows with different themes on his Facebook page, the Nik Nazmi Show, #HarapanKita and Apa Harapan Anak Muda.
“Other than doing groundwork, I have these three series that I use to engage with Malaysians.
“The response has been good as our Internet penetration is good, although there are places where the reception is not that great, generally you can watch these shows anywhere,” he said.
The Nik Nazmi Show which debuted in October last year, is a nonpartisan series that sees Nik Nazmi unpacking various issues such as jobs and the economy with invited guests.
“It is not directly political and is more towards raising the latest issues and creating awareness,” said Nik Nazmi.
“It’s important to not only reach out to core supporters but also the fence sitters, who are Malaysians that are not very political and have different voting patterns in previous elections.”
Meanwhile, #HarapanKita features young politicians while Apa Harapan Anak Muda features Malaysian youths talking about their hopes and challenges.
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s latest Chinese New Year video garnered more than 300,000 views on Facebook.
Kok, who is known for her humorous Chinese New Year videos, appeared in the video that showed DAP leaders in school uniform against the backdrop of an election for class monitor in school.
All geared up and ready for battle