“To both BN and PH, if your claim is that the other side is losing support, provide the facts and figures or focus on more important issues. To Mahathir, if you’re trying to send a coded message to the DAP that Lim Guan Eng needs to go, say it loud and clear or forever hold your peace”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today that the weakness in communicating Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) many successes was the reason behind the coalition’s dwindling popularity. While there is some truth to this, the Prime Minister isn’t telling you the full story. In light of this, I have taken the liberty to list down several factors that I believe will impact heavily on how the 15th general election plays out. For purposes of clarity, I’ve braided these factors through a series of questions and answers to alow you to skip to the section you think will best serve to your interests.
The DAP Cybertrooper team
Commonly referred to as the Red Bean Army (RBA), the DAP is alleged to have paid, nurtured and trained a team of cybertroopers since 2009 to flood the social media with fake news and propaganda. The team focused on subliminal messaging by means of symbolisation based on strategies employed by Communists, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. There was a clear element of Cult Personalisation involved in that people like Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim were portrayed as saviours to the Malaysian race.
Is the RBA real?
As far as I am concerned, and based on discussions I had with several groups in Penang, it is. The team focused on keywords and phrases common to the everyday Malaysian such as Maggie Mee, Kangkung, Milo and GST. For instance, they’d talk about the price of Maggie Mee and how even the beggar found it difficult to buy a packet of the instant noodles. Actually, none of that made any sense whatsoever as you had other brands in the market that were (and still are) much, much cheaper than Maggie. But because the vast majority of Malaysians relate well to the brand, the RBA went out of its way to convince you that when someone cannot afford to buy Maggie Mee, the country is doomed.
It’s called mind programming.
Once the commoner’s mind was programmed, every time he (or she) read or heard the word Maggie, he (or she) would subconsciously be reminded of the poor beggar who couldn’t afford a packet of instant noodles. The RBA then went on to link the price of Maggie Mee to GST, which we now know is far better than the SST which failed to prevent the price of food from going up. In a matter of time, people began thinking of the man on the street and Maggie every time someone spoke of the GST. The RBA then flooded the internet with pictures of UMNO leaders clad in flashy clothes and kept harping on the RM2.6 billion “stolen from 1MDB.” Just before the 14thgeneral election, the message the DAP successfully planted into the people’s mind read something like this:
“UMNO is greedy. After stealing billions from taxpayers and living like kings and queens, its leaders still impose GST and squeeze money out of the beggar who can’t even afford a packet of Maggie Mee.”
That’s mind programming for you.
The New Wisdom Pool (NWP)
Thanks to the RBA, netizens who got brainwashed or ‘programed’ helped flood the social media with fake news and propaganda. Over the years, the netizen group far outweighed the RBA and dominated the comment sections online. While the RBA was incentivised to litter the internet with filth, the netizen group, which kept growing, wasn’t. And when you have a pool of people who aren’t incentivised to do something, they tend to get truthful over the years and speak from the heart once the right trigger is pulled.
The 14thgeneral election was the trigger?
While the RBA nourished itself with dollars and cents, the netizen group simply wanted results. And when the results did not come, they took a step back and began to think. It occured to them that the DAP misled them into thinking that the GST was the reason prices of food went up. That immediately un-programmed their minds and allowed them to analyse what was truly going on. Today, the group is far bigger, smarter and wiser than any of us can imagine and is incentivised primarily by facts and figures. In effect, we now have a New Wisdom Pool (NWP) of online thinkers who aren’t easily duped by propaganda.
Is the NWP objective?
But that being said, its members do tend to comment emotionally as they’re used to writing comments that way. I met up with at least 15 different individuals who’re quite established in media circles. They’re either known as “top fans” among Facebookers or themselves own established Facebook pages. When we sat down to analyse the political landscape, everyone agreed that PH would win the general election if held tomorrow. But everyone also admitted that the comments they posted online spoke mainly of “bubar parlimen” and “kerajaan sepenggal.”
When I asked why, the answer was either “we don’t care, just as long as the DAP is taught a lesson” or “it helps put pressure on PH.” At least four out of seven so-called PH “top fans” still wanted PH in charge and were only seeking to boot Lim Guan Eng, Waytha Moorthy, Mujahid Rawa and Lim Kit Siang out. Even two or three of those who claimed to be pro-BN wanted the exact same thing. What shocked me most was the confession that they wished to see a new batch of PH leaders in charge of the country and agreed to Azmin Ali becoming Prime Minister. They didn’t seem to mind the semburit sexcapade and placed Azmin several notches ahead of Anwar Ibrahim.
The problem with most of us is that we rely too much on comment sections online to gauge sentiments abound. In the first place, the total number of people who comment online account for less than one per cent of the reading population. This is a fact known to any intelligence, Special Branch, political and (or) Information Technology expert. In the second place, we tend to misinterpret comments by thinking that the majority online is naive, when in fact, many are intelligent and are merely seeking to boot several PH leaders out.
My point is, the days of taking netizens for a ride is over.
Are the politicians aware of this?
The political playing field (BN + PH) is currently filled with dinosaurs. The one thing good about PH is that its leaders rely a lot on big data that gives them a firm grip on performance issues. BN, on the other hand, has spent next to nothing on analysis and is still riding on assumptions pre-GE14 style. I can give you two contradicting interpretations of the Sandakan and Semenyih by-elections that seem to make perfect sense but are completely wrong. Even the interpretation provided by BN following the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar polls seemed to make sense but was proven wrong during the 14thgeneral election.
Bottom line is, if you haven’t done your homework, go home. And that goes for Mahathir and gang too. He actually believes that the NWP will buy his drivel hook, line and sinker. In this day and time, pretending that you’re weak just to gain sympathy no longer works, as the word on the ground is that “Mahathir means the exact opposite of what he says.” To both BN and PH, if your claim is that the other side is losing support, provide the facts and figures or focus on more important issues. To Mahathir, if you’re trying to send a coded message to the DAP that Lim Guan Eng needs to go, say it loud and clear or forever hold your peace.
Where do we go from here?
First of all, if you’re going to go on and on about GE15 being Chinese vs Malays, you’re wasting your time. There is a new division that never existed before that will determine how the 15th general election plays out. It’s all about “the liberalised youth (LY)” vs “the conservative veterans (CV).” The first group comprises of those aged 18 – 40 while the second constitutes the rest of the voting population. If the general election is held next year, the LY group will account for almost 45 per cent of those who will cast ballots and close to 30 per cent of Muslim voters. The two groups react very, very differently to the exact same issues with the LY being far more accommodating than people can imagine.
If you can’t get a grip of this and are still feeding people with propaganda, the NWP will start resorting to deductive reasoning and will constantly be on the lookout for alternatives. And when both sides keep harping on propaganda, the NWP will derive its own conclusions based on whatever little information it has. When that happens – and it’s happening – there’s no telling what the outcome of GE15 will be if the election is called for next year. If, however, BN and PH agree to come clean with the people on their sins, the support pendulum would likely lean towards PH as the coalition is new and has far less sins than BN.
Perhaps that’s why nobody wants to come clean?
Perhaps PH knows that if it comes clean first and BN doesn’t, the pendulum will swing towards BN big time. But it’s a big, big “perhaps.”
To be continued…