PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim should use TikTok to counter the racial and religious propaganda coming from Perikatan Nasional (PN) now that the coalition has pledged to function as the opposition, says a political analyst.
Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) said that TikTok is “a different world” from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as it caters to young people who prefer short videos.
“TikTok videos are usually quite crude and direct, which makes them look original. That is TikTok’s appeal that PN has managed to capitalise on,” he told FMT.
“Anwar and his Malay supporters can start by ramping up efforts to provide counter-narratives, particularly via short TikTok videos. (They should) recruit more everyday, regular Malays to do these videos so that they’ll look natural and organic.”
Azmil made the suggestion when asked how Anwar and Pakatan Harapan (PH) should counter the ethno-religious propaganda from an overwhelmingly Malay-Muslim opposition, like PN.
TikTok recently came under scrutiny following reports that several postings on the social media platform had warned of a possible repeat of the May 13, 1969 race riots following PH’s gains in GE15.
Meanwhile, analyst Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) says that Anwar should uphold the Federal Constitution in protecting the rights of the Malays and the bumiputeras while fighting for the rights of other races as well.
“In GE15, the rakyat believed the racial and religious propaganda by PN,” he told FMT. “I am confident that the Malays will eventually support Anwar and PH if the economy improves, the price hike issue is resolved, and the rights of the Malays and bumiputeras, and Islam are taken care of.”
Both Azmil and Azizuddin agree that Anwar does not have to appease the conservative voters that overwhelmingly voted for PN through conservative policy-making.
They said that he needs to instead focus on bringing in jobs, creating investments, resolving bread-and-butter issues, and combating corruption, as this will help to reduce the discontent of many PN supporters.
“For starters, he should not include anyone from the court cluster in his cabinet,” suggested Azmil, in reference to several MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN), PH and Muda with court cases.
Azizuddin also suggested that Anwar convince both youths and fence-sitters who were sold on PN’s online propaganda to support him by doing outreach to these youths and listening to their woes.
Both of them are of the view that Anwar does not have to sign a confidence and supply agreement (CSA) or a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PN to stave off any attempts by the coalition to topple the government.
Azmil said this is because Anwar has a stable majority to run the unity government.
He added that a CSA is only relevant for a minority government, while Azizuddin said that an MoU could be done between the components in the unity government to ensure government stability.
“The MoU and CSA were done by Ismail (with PH) because he was worried that his government will fall due to a lack of support from within the government for him to remain as the prime minister,” he added.