‘UMNO Youth to counter slander against leaders’ so says the headlines in NST on line July 08, 2008.
UMNO Youth Chief, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein has said that “lies, accusation and nonsense” has been smeared on the faces of our leaders by Anwar Ibrahim’s persistent and ‘highly defamatory antics’. Hishamuddin further remarked that “he would not stand idle” at Anwar’s slanderous remarks, and to counter this, UMNO Youth will “mobilized all its members to meet the public”, supposedly to explain the truth, regarding the current problems facing the country today.
While I believe that the intention of UMNO Youth to meet the public is noble; this can however become another slandering exercise, especially when personal emotions are aroused, and when individuals making the explanation are themselves incompetent, and ill informed of the current problems. There are bound to be individuals who out of blind loyalty to party, may feel agitated and aggrieved at having others slander their leaders. When this happens, animosity between parties i.e. government and opposition, will be further aggravated, and the counter slandering goes unabated.
I believe, there are other better ways of solving this problem, without having to physically deploy UMNO Youth members roam all over the country, and whose results may not be totally effective. Different people have different ways of delivering messages and interacting with people, and this in itself will create differing perceptions and the results may not be what Hishamuddin actually wants.
The government has complete control over the mainstream media, both electronic and print that has extensive coverage. It also has control over a number of agencies down to district and village level, that has direct dealings with the people. With proper and well scripted programmes, activities and monitoring, the messages that the UMNO Youth intended to pass down to the people could be done by and through the means prescribed in the foregoing sentences. In plain simple language, use the government’s propaganda tools to its optimum.
Hishamuddin need to weight intelligently and conscientiously the effectiveness and benefits of his idea verses that of mine, as prescribed above. I am just recalling the period of the Malayan insurgency, and how the State Information Services teams would go down to the villages to counter the communist propaganda machinery, and with a film show to close the session.