Political elder takes advice from grandson, connects via social media

JOHOR BARU: It’s normal for a grandchild to listen to their grandparents, but in the case of Johor Umno veteran Datuk Othman Jais (pic), he listened to his grandson and went on social media to connect with young voters.

Othman, who is the chairman of the state Umno veterans’ group, acknowledged that times have changed and many people, in particular the younger generation, are active social media users.

By embracing social media, he said, his group has been able to reach out to many young and first-time voters.

The 75-year-old said he got the idea of using social media in his political work after a conversation with his 20-year-old grandson, who voted for the first time during the Johor election in March.

“A relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is always special where the young ones will listen to the advice given by their elder. But I listen to the young ones too.

“So, after the Johor polls, we decided to create a TikTok account as the medium is very popular among the youth,” said Othman.

And so, the “Otai Bangsa Johor” TikTok account was born. It has since uploaded 26 videos and garnered 1,101 followers.

“We have received positive feedback from other TikTok users, in particular younger people,” he added.

Othman said his group is actively reaching out to the masses through various social media platforms as well as messaging apps like WhatsApp.

“We want to play our part and help the Barisan Nasional machinery woo voters, especially first-time voters, regardless of their age.

“In Johor, about 300,000 voters are 55 years and above, and they make up about 47% of the state’s total voters.

“The remaining are young and first-timer voters, with whom we need to connect, as every vote is important,” he told The Star.

Othman said Umno veterans like him used to take the traditional approach of going to the ground and meeting the public face-to-face.

But things are changing now for these elders.

“We are not afraid of going on social media and are even actively using it to carry out our meetings (online).

“We will continue to create content for our TikTok account and use other social media platforms to attract voters to Barisan Nasional,” he added.

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