The power of social media denies international boundaries and enables people to communicate in the globalized world. Thanks to the social media, it is now possible for the people living in Asia would know what is currently happening in the Americas. For the people in Malaysia, any breaking news, any new announcement made by the Head of State, would be known in seconds. For the Malaysian people, they welcomed this idea because it would give them first-hand information. For the Malaysian government, this development brings both pros and cons. The cons, due to the uncontrolled flow of information and lack of acceptance from the Malaysian people of the e-government services may lead ineffectiveness on the initiative.
In Malaysia, the state of social media is constantly evolving day by day. The Malaysian government has embraced the social media as part of their initiatives to communicate directly to the people. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most popular sites which the Malaysian government is currently embarking on.
In the context of the Malaysian government, the “government’ here refers to the government agencies which would like to interact directly to the people, on their on-going initiatives, services, performance and also getting first hand feedbacks. For an example, Royal Malaysian Police’s (RMP) Facebook account is so popular due to the needs of the people to know the safety level in the country especially knowing the IS threat is overwhelming in South East Asia. RMP has posted a lot useful information during the previous Eid holidays pertaining to road safety, traffic information, and crime rates amongst others. This is not possible many years ago and RMP has to do it by the old fashion way by using the radio, newspapers, mainstream national and private television networks. Kudos to the social media, campaign cost has gone down and the messages is far more reachable.
Meanwhile, politicians use social media as part of their initiatives to gain political mileage. Even in Malaysia, politicians tend to opt to use social media as well to expand their political influences. As an example, our famous Prime Minister has a lot of social media accounts not relating to only Facebook and Twitter accounts, to reach more people in the country. Politicians gained a lot from these social media platforms in Malaysia due to the country’s penetration rate, any formal functions attended, press statement given by them, would be known in instant of seconds. From there, the politicians could judge their acceptance rate by the likes or feedbacks given by the people.
Getting in depth, the Malaysian government is becoming transparent and embraces social media to tackle these four key areas; government services, politics, economics and security. All these areas is essential to the government to ensure the smooth sailing of the country in becoming a developed nation.
- Government Services
According to the Malaysian government official website (www.malaysia.gov.my/onlineservices) there are 1,432 online services currently available to both citizen and non-citizen of Malaysia. These includes tax payments, child adoptions, business premise licenses and many more. By looking at the number of online services alone, it is almost impossible for a stand-alone website to “promote” itself to the people.
The Malaysian political scene has changed significantly over the years with the assistance of social media. Political campaign now could be run 24/7, thanks to Facebook and YouTube. A lot of critics has been given to the current Malaysian Prime Minister for his incompetency in running the Malaysian government and money scandals. His team of so called “cyber-troopers” did a fantastic job making sure that the current on-going issues will not tarnish his political career and image. It is proven on the previous two by-elections where the Coalition won with a big majority when the people expected the Coalition to lose the by elections due to his unpopular image.
Moving forward into more globalize economic world, Malaysia has embrace the social media to brand itself in order to stand out compared to the other countries in South East Asia. As an example, the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia has utilized YouTube to post a lot of interesting places in Malaysia to attract more tourists and investors into the country. In order to that, this require a lot of branding exercises.
The Malaysian Armed Forces consists of three main branches; The Malaysian Army, Royal Malaysian Navy and Royal Malaysian Air Force. The security forces played a very critical role in ensuring the safety and stability in the nation. They too have utilized the social media to reach out to the people of Malaysia. The idea of the armed forces to exercise such initiatives are to ensure the people that the armed forces are currently in the state of readiness and will act accordingly against any aggressors. The recent China intervention in the South China Sea has sparked a lot of angst towards the Malaysian people. They too felt insecure on the development and feared a full scale conventional war would broke out. By using the social media especially Facebook and YouTube, it become easier for the armed forces to notify the public while at the same time to ease the tension among Malaysians
To conclude, the social media remains as a mainstay to the Malaysian government. Its uses is significantly recognized to strengthen the country and move this nation forward into more globalize and competitive world. The people of Malaysia should know how to fully use the social media to their advantage so that they will not be left out compared to the other citizens of the neighboring country. – Zarifhadi Bujang, Malaysia.