KUCHING: Social media will play an important role come the 12th state election, expected in 2021, and the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government has been reminded to take the effectiveness of social media seriously.
“This has happened in several elections and it’s going to happen again,” said Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri, adding that youths active in social media would believe all issues raised in it.
“GPS should not underestimate this. In my observation, GPS representatives are too busy working on the ground to meet people no matter during election season or not, so opposing parties take up space on social media to disseminate inaccurate information and condemn representatives of GPS,” said Nancy, a former federal minister.
She said the implications of their actions were adopted by the opposition parties to criticise and condemn local elected representatives.
She also noted the increasing number of social media practitioners, who started using social media to demand something from their elected representatives despite being party members themselves.
“The implications of their actions are being manipulated by the opposition parties to criticise the elected representatives,” she said to New Sarawak Tribune yesterday.
Nancy said GPS representatives were very fortunate because the Sarawak government had provided considerably significant allocations to help develop their respective areas.
On what drove the opposition parties in trying to bring down the current state government, she pointed out that Sarawak was more developed than 20 years ago and the sources of income from Sarawak are many, such as from oil and gas, forest produce, pepper, oil palm, rubber and more.
She said Sarawak also had financial strength because of the wisdom of its leaders in managing the state’s financial resources and Sarawak had the capability to increase its financial resources through autonomous powers as enshrined in the constitution.
“The Sarawak government is currently dealing with the federal government to enact autonomous power as enshrined in the constitution but if the opposition party takes over the state then they will claim credit.
“There are many more potential resources in Sarawak which can be explored,” she said.
On Sarawak politics, Nancy said there were many Bumiputeras who felt that it was time for them to change Sarawak politics, thinking that politics was the same everywhere.
Nancy believed that it was not going to be smooth sailing for both GPS and Pakatan Harapan in the coming state election, saying that with the increasing number of political parties entering Sarawak, it showed how Malaya wanted to interfere with Sarawak’s internal affairs.
“The inclusion of the party is like a growing fungus. This will invite a split among the Bumiputeras, inviting internal political disputes,” she said.
She said that the internal conflict in Parti Keadilan Rakyat due to unrest among their members to follow party leaders could also happen to other parties like Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Democratic Action Party – all of which are from Malaya.
“Internal conflicts in parties will also be a major factor in the election. In any political atmosphere all the factors that are cited do exist.
“The way politics is like between urban and rural areas varies greatly. Similarly, relevant issues also vary according to race and surroundings.
“From my observation, the issue of bribery was highlighted by politicians in the city and this issue has indeed affected voters in urban areas until some seats have been won by the opposing party.
“Among the voters in the city, the issues that affect the people are land and basic necessities such as water, electricity and roads.
“In the 14th general election, many infra projects, especially in rural areas, had increased. Development of infra is a continuous effort and this is a major issue by the opposing party as if the old government did nothing,” she said,
She added that the loss in the rural areas was not due to development issues as the people could see for themselves the improvement in terms of development brought by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“The cause of defeat in the rural areas was due to internal politics. For example, the candidate is disliked by the local people, the opposition party in muddy waters, and the party’s internal problems.”
Nancy explained that the political situation in a country or state was different from one place to another, even from one area to another.
She said the 14th general election’s decision had been a stimulant for politicians and voters in Sarawak.
“It also opens up space for those who have the aspiration to be directly involved in politics and want to hold important positions in political parties and become candidates during election.
“The factors I mentioned are a common phenomenon in a political party’s administration that intends to lead the government,” Nancy said.
She said in ancient times, before there was access to the interior, the challenge for the ruling party was not as it is today.
“Accessibility in terms of roads, electricity and water facilities has increased and with the increase of access to the Internet, it is pushing opposition political parties to capture Sarawak.
“Such evidence also denies the allegation that the previous government did nothing.
“If they accuse the government of doing nothing then they do not speak the truth, even the leader who once ruled in BN is also the leader now.
“I have observed the latest political situation in Malaysia, especially those joining parties from outside Sarawak. Their culture is very different from us in local parties.
“The way we do things are very different as we are still tied to Sarawak culture, it is not easy to use the cursed word against the other party.
“We can see today how those who are in today’s governing party cursed and humiliated the leadership of such a shame,” she pointed out.
She said it was undeniable that no friends and opponents remained in politics.
“When the curse and not the criticism is beyond the bounds of being too characteristic, did the cursed man forget?”
“This is today’s political scene, where among themselves they have a fragile relationship because they do not trust each other,” added Nancy.
Nancy further commented that the government’s advisor Tun Daim Zainuddin and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were still issuing statements on how the ministers were doing their job by saying that they were still new, which was inaccurate.
“This atmosphere illustrates whether or not PH does not have a strong system to adhere to, or the ministers are just submissive to their own leaders and not to the prime minister as Cabinet ministers.”