Dr Awang Azman

KUCHING: It is not in doubt anymore that the Internet, which encompasses social media, is one of the effective new ways that politicians and/or their parties use to reach the public, but it is also fragile as it can be easily abused.

The role of cybertroopers could be of concern considering the current political polarisation in the country, and even more worrying is their potential impact on the next state election — the 12th to be exact.

University of Malaya political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi, said all parties have their respective social media teams and cybertroopers.

Dr Awang Azman

“In the next state election, all parties or individuals will use their media teams to promote their candidates, providing narratives and perspectives that might be straight forward facts or slanted presentations depending on their agendas.

“It usually requires expertise in political communication, narrative development, persuasion, enlightenment literacy and propaganda … a mix of reality and half reality,” he told New Sarawak Tribune.

Awang Azman added that although facts and arguments were very important in order to win, the intense competition for supremacy could cause ethics to get violated because politics is a war of information, facts, and arguments.

“The most dangerous thing is to have false news or hoax spread to attract sympathy or repulse the opposition. All of these need to be controlled so that the people are not easily influenced by deception,” he said.