Malaysia’s 12th General Election
The power of the media, or the sign of frustration?
For the record, I am writing this without any political inclination and solely based on my personal observation without any intention to undermine any individual or party.
The Malaysia 12th General Election on 8 March 2008, was indeed the most intriguing and stimulating general election ever held in Malaysia. The unprecedented swing of votes to the Opposition upon emerging as victor in five states and obtaining more than 1/3 of the seats in Parliament, catapulted their rank as a forces not to be reckon with in the next general election. The former Prime Minister of Malaysia attributed the lacklustre performance of the government coalition during the election was due to the frustration of the people toward the government.
Though there are many ways to dissect the outcome of the 12th General Election, one point worth mentioning is the blatant use of electronic media to promote election manifesto as well as to disseminate propagandas. In the case of the opposition, with scarce access to the mainstream media, has tapped the power to reach the masses via the Internet, to their fullest advantage. Words such as blog, bloggers and columnist, which was so “alien” to Malaysian once, has become an indispensable and vital tool for the opposition to stand their ground.
The popularity of the blog was largely due to the factor that for the author of any blog can remain anonymous, should he/she choose to. With almost everything and anything that can be “blogged” in a few minutes and accessed instantly, the mainstream media has now meet its match.
As Malaysian became educated, the sudden shift of people’s trust from the mainstream media to this new domain, was probably due to the boredom and ‘fatigueless’ of the constant supply of one sided coverage via the mainstream media, particularly since Barisan National secured the landslide victory in 2004. This has really pushed the opposition to nurse their political aspiration via the internet particularly by using blogs.
Notwithstanding, one must not be mistaken that the blatant use of media and the internet, or the opposition’s manifestos, as the main factor that propelled the opposition as a victor in the 12th General Election. The main thrust of this change is more likely due to the frustration that has been engulfing the nation since 2004. The victory of the opposition was very much just an escapism from the previous government. Nothing more.