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Sakmongkol ak 47

Monday 15 February 2010

Reawakening UMNO.

Today I attended a meeting to finalize arrangements for a big UMNO do in Pahang. I have been asked to be a facilitator in the NEW MEDIA workshop.

Some people came up to me asking why I wasn't placed in the economics workshop. I have after all an advanced degree in economics. Doesn't necessarily make me a better economist but I am well placed to understand economic issues faster and better I think, than many of the UMNO windbags around.

I replied, would UMNO risk my asking awkward questions? I will pull no punches. They know how I feel about the Pahang GLCs. I have stated that some of them ought to be closed. I have asked for the removal of deadwoods.

They know how I feel about how the logging industry is managed. I have asked for a total ban on logging by private companies. All logs are to be cut down by approved contractors, and then brought to designated bonded areas to be sold off to all buyers. Break the monopoly is the way to go.

Go into the service industry- training, education, health care business. Go into pharmaceuticals.

They know how I feel about the supporting administrative structure of the state. Demand minimum entry requirements. Get people to learn English.

In any case, I am still free to talk about how others handle the economics workshops. Can't wait to expose their superficialities. I will certainly blog about them soon.

Anyway, I am pleased to be given a role to discuss the new media. I sincerely hope UMNO will look seriously into mastering the new media. It's losing ground there. Remember, the Kuala Terengganu by elections? It took a simple SMS message relayed to thousand of teachers to swing the votes to the opposition.

But isn't thought formation via the new media limited? Kampong people don't read the internet. UMNO people don't do blogging. Not many read blogs. True, but a sea change in opinion doesn't require the reading participation of many. It suffices to have a core group of vocal minority to articulate the issues and disseminate them to receptive audience. Powerful ideas that take root within above average intelligence will spread like wild fire. A prairie fire requires just a single spark.

The NEW MEDIA is indeed a powerful political tool. Obama supporters used it extensively to bring in the votes. Much damage was caused to BN during the 12th GE in 2008.

By NEW MEDIA , I understand it to mean the application of the internet as a medium of conveying thinking, ideas, information, misinformation, cyber wars, and all that. The purpose of which is to further the interests of the political party.

UMNO must muster the NEW MEDIA. It must do so with a sense of urgency. It must employ the new media to further its political objectives.

I have no problem in being partisan. But it must be done with honor. If UMNO does wrong things, we must highlight them. If they do the right things, we support them. If the leadership is weak, we tell them in their faces.

There is no other way and shortcuts. UMNO must be transparent in its deeds. It must own up. The big event by UMNO Pahang is precisely that- owning up that UMNO is facing problems and we are trying to take remedial measures.

This is the wonder of the new media. You break barriers with your thinking. The new media gives a new meaning to the expression democratization. It creates a new level playing field. What makes the internet potent is it breaks the monopoly over the shaping of people's mind hitherto monopolized by the old media (the 4th Estate- the Press). It empowers people.

So for UMNO to dismiss or not to take something that empowers people, it does that to its own peril.


KS Cheah 15 February 2010 at 09:42  

Hi Dato', your reference to New Media should include the subject of new Social Media where the proverbial "word of mouth" is mainly carried.

People seem to trust peer recommendations and opinions more than advertisements and self-aggrandizements.

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 09:55  

Dato' Arif Sabri,

itu lah dia PAHANG. Saya percaya Dato' akan mengendalikan nya dengan baik dan positif arah nya. Beasr itu Pahang . Pahang itu besar. Ingat tak Dato. pokok mayang. Batang nya besar dan lurus, putih kulit nya dan licin. Lebar daun nya boleh buat payung. Tumbuh tinggi menjulang awan. Tapi lompong ditengah dan lembut kayu nya. boleh dipelajari hakikat pokok mayang ini, banyak pengajaran nya. maaf jika silap,

zorro 15 February 2010 at 10:35  

Timely Datuk Sak....hugs to Mamasita.

eddy 15 February 2010 at 10:50  

Dato', UMNO should make you Information Chief and make you head of UMNO think tank to advise the President on the New Media. UMNO needs to be rudely awakened from their state of semi slumber.

I am not flattering you in any way but I hope DS Najib is reading this.

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 11:25  

Good luck to you Dato'
It is never too late, I guess hah!!!

Mat Cendana 15 February 2010 at 11:56  

Dato', it's good that you are aware of this argument by many who should know better that "kampung people don't read blogs". Since I'm in one, I guess all this while it must have been porn sites that I've been reading:-)

Anyway, even if they don't read these, you're right about the influence of a vociferous few. If people care to look closer and do a bit of reflecting, the principles are no different from that of the 50's, 60's whenever there's a new technology or facility.

Take the newspaper, radio and television. Newspapers have been around decades before those time periods, of course. But only a few have access. It's the same when radio and television came around - the opinionated and partisan ones would disseminate important points at informal gatherings in the coffeeshop, the surau/mosque (before Maghrib, before Isyak, after Isyak) and homes.

Now they could never reproduce things verbatim; and most likely would be selective and biased. But in these situations, only two things matter: their reputation and how they argue against detractors. They might successfully push lies and half-truths a few times and get away with it in the short term.

However, things tend to balance out over the medium term - every one of us has a "Credibility Level" and "Popularity Level" in the eyes and minds of others -- cry wolf once too often and credibility goes down to "30%". You might be popular and "the life of the kedai kopi", and people will smile and nod... but they don't believe. This principle works during the 60's when newspapers were king and still does right now with the new media.

By the way, this is from last year when I was doing research for an article on this matter. It would do well for the Umno leaders to not under-estimate the Internet's reach. A few years ago it's true that not many in the rural areas have access, with usage mostly limited to teachers.

But there has been a quiet revolution from 2008 especially. I'm surprised the media (with the exception of Malay Mail had not really focused on and acknowledged it at that time. It's thanks to Maxis and Celcom, whom I feel have done more to get people on board than Telekom/TMnet (including yours truly).

Stop to consider how excellent mobile broadband has been - the fact that you don't have to undergo the hassle of getting a landline, plus the impossibility of being saddled with a RM500-plus bill (it'll happen when more than two people have access to the phone). Go to a Blue Cube outlet today, register, plug the USB modem into the computer and later at 5.30PM, that guy in Mukim Asun, Jitra, Kedah will be warned about a bizarre kind of noodles that might cause constipation.

He might only get slow GPRS, but consider the empowerment it brings him - the mobility at RM68 per month that also allows him to bring along his laptop to the coffeeshop or wherever and show evidence of something to the patrons there. He'll also now have the opportunity to get to know some pretty `janda' in Cherating, Setiawangsa or Seattle through Facebook etc:-) But that's the point - users will learn and utilise what they have over time. So what is/will Umno's plan to do the same?

BTW, should Umno, PKR, Pas, BJP or Social Democrat require a mercenary writer for blogs and social networks, tell them to jangan malu-malu ye...

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 11:59  

YB Dato'
The New Media main arsenal is battle of perception. The perception of the RAKYAT will determined the outcome PRU 2013.

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 12:44  

Eddy,15/02/10 ; 10:50.

Saya bersetuju dengan pandangan anda. Memang benar orang bijak macam Dato Arif ini di beri jawatan tersebut, orang berani atas kebenaran. Tanpa takut menegur, keara atas ikhlas. Tapi perhatikan di Pahang orang seperti ini payah survive. Aku tak fikir blog Dato kita ini di layari oleh yang berkenaan. Tapi tak apa EDDY orang seperti kita melayari nya. Pakai hukum matematika, ix2 jadi 2, 2x5 jadi 10, dan seterus nya terus berkembang. Yang penting kita mempelajari erti kebenaran tanpa ada takut dan terhutang budi. Benar tetap benar. Salah tetap salah. maaf jika terlebih.

Ramli Mohd Yunus 15 February 2010 at 15:53  

My my Dato,

At least we have a few (too few) who think, write and talk with sense!

My humble congratulation to tou!

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 15:58  

Heh! The UMNO way to deal with the media is to block or ban it.Courtesy of the ancient Rais Yatim.

Anonymous,  15 February 2010 at 17:43  

Dato. You know UMNO very well and you also know how the top leadership of UMNO Pahang work. Most of the time, it's hearsay that carries weight. If they want to act on information on hearsay basis, they waste no time. Waste no time on trying to give economic issues to them? They are not interested because there are other hidden agendas involved.All GLC's in Pahang should be closed down. They aren't making money. All GLC's are losing money and the ones that were making money has been sold to third parties. You know who?
Dato Ariff Sabri, I don't know what you can do to alleviate UMNO's problems. But for sure UMNO's media cannot be like Obama's. First thing because UMNO has already lost it's credibility. Unless and until the BN govt starts cracking down on corrupt minister's and down below, the perception of the rakyat doesn't change.Most of the 7 series BMW originate from Putrajaya.Most of them are gatekeepers'???!!

Anonymous,  16 February 2010 at 02:51  


You are only wasting your time with UMNO. You have put up your advice to the UMNO/BN goons on your blog for so long. Did they listen? Did they take heed?

The answer is NO. So, you continue to bother.

Save your breath and air liur kamu lah.

Quit UMNO....the dying party.


zlynad,  16 February 2010 at 11:06  

spot on!

you have my vote

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