Malaysia’s 13th General Election: Social Media and its Political Impact
[James Gomez] Malaysia’s Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional (BN) leader NajibRazak in February 2013 was quoted widely in the media as saying that the general elections (GE) in 2013 will the country’s first “social media election”. This paper examines the role of social media in Malaysia’s 2013 general elections and its political impact. Previously, in the 2008 general election, it was widely accepted that alternative online content determined the result. The country’s opposition coalition was credited in using new media to overcome a hostile mainstream media owned by establishment political interests to secure a much improved showing at the polls. Back in GE 2008, the new media electoral landscape was comprised of blogs, party websites and alternative news portals and not really social media as we it know today. In 2008, BN was the clear social media outsider. In fact, BN literally had limited online presence and was said to have underestimated the impact of new media altogether on the electorate’s voting behavior. Fast forward to April 2013, the landscape is very different. BN had made strong inroads onto social media and has carved itself a competitive position. What then has been social media’s political impact on voter behaviour during Malaysia’s 13th general elections? | Download Full Text |Dr. James Gomez is an academician from Singapore and is currently Associate Professor at the Universiti Utara Malaysia. The article is uploaded with his permission.