KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has rallied pro-government social media activists to go on the offensive in cyberspace to defend the government and help the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) to retain Putrajaya.
"We have long been in defensive mode. Enough. It is now time to attack," he said in a post on his blog, najibrazak.com.
Datuk Seri Najib said today's election battlefields have changed and are no longer physical or face-to-face, but in cyberspace.
He gave the example of the last two general elections in 2008 and 2013, when the BN government was exposed to attacks without a cyber army to retaliate.
"But, today, many activists are loyal cyber commanders ready to defend government policies," he wrote.
The Prime Minister, however, reminded all social activists to hold on to three basic principles in the battle.
First, he said, they need to avoid internal feuds among themselves and be committed to the struggle to uphold the BN government.
Second, they are to expand their cyber network and communicate with influencers in all fields, so that messages are delivered to people more effectively. The third principle is that they should learn from what happened in the previous general election, he said.
"We must be nimble in our response and not be trapped, as happened on polling day in the 13th general election, where the opposition disseminated false news that we were bringing in voters from Bangladesh to vote and that we created electrical blackouts in certain places to manipulate votes.
"All these stories were preposterous but many were taken in by the news, which did affect voters and the election," he said.