Be social media savvy to woo voters

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KUCHING: Social media is expected to play an even bigger role in communicating political messages in the run-up to the 12th state election.

A growing penchant for all things digital has now put traditional media in the shade, and political analyst Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal wants all contending parties to make full use of this new phenomenon.

He stressed that it is time for political parties to learn and implement digital media communication strategies.

“Nowadays, everyone is capable of using social-digital media if internet connectivity is not an issue.

“Since the senior generations are actively engaged in WhatsApp and online shopping platforms, this situation suggests that there should be a shift in current political communication strategies.”

In this respect, he said contesting parties should learn more about fostering a consistent engagement with voters.

Dr Ammar is acutely aware that there may be problems reaching rural voters widely through online campaigns.

If internet connectivity and telecommunication services are major issues in rural areas, then contesting parties should still rely on traditional media to convey their messages.

“They (political parties) can communicate their message through print media, such as newspapers,” he added.

In another development, he reminded that the state election should not be only about winning but doing so without jeopardising public health.

To accomplish this, he said all parties must adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) outlined by the Health Ministry (MoE) and the Election Commission (EC).

“By now, the MoE and EC should have issued guidelines for the upcoming Malacca state election. I believe Sarawak will enforce similar SOPs.”

It is disappointing that physical campaigning is not permitted, but everyone, especially political parties, must follow the SOPs for the sake of public health, he said.

“I believe there should be no double standards in implementing SOPs, as what applies in Malacca should also apply in Sarawak,” he said in a statement on Monday (Nov 8).

He hoped the authorities would implement the SOPs without favouring any party to maintain the notion that everyone is equal before the law.

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