KUALA LUMPUR: A new platform for the Barisan Nasional to highlight the people’s issues and counter fake news was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
Dubbed 'TheRakyat', accesible online at http://therakyat.com, the website will focus on issues related to the upcoming 14th General Election and provide the public with relevant information including BN candidates.
In his speech, Najib, who is BN chairman, said the move was necessary following the coalition’s experience in the previous election where the opposition had used social media as a weapon to attack BN and spread lies.
"We chose the launching of this portal to be the first BN event this year because it will be our most important platform to face the general election. Social media has become the main platform for the rakyat to receive information and make their decision when the time comes.
"We know that in the past GE13, we became a victim to spread of fake news. Although the term fake news was not popular then, but it had been used as a weapon by the opposition and had more or less affected us.
"These include allegations that we were using Bangladeshis as phantom voters, that several vote counting centres experienced blackout although that time was during the day and there was enough sunlight to count votes even if blackout really happens.
“There was also a particular opposition leader who Tweeted that they have won the election at 4am, when voting had not even begun. These are only several of the examples, and we believe this tactic will be repeated when GE14 comes," Najib said.
Also present during the launching, which was held shortly before BN Supreme Council has their meet to discuss about election, were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and TheRakyat.com director Shamsulbahrin Ludin.
In a statement issued by the portal management, TheRakyat was set up to serve as BN's official portal in gearing to face the election slated to be in the near future.
"TheRakyat.com will be the voice and catalyst for BN aspirations to maintain its position as this country's ruling party.
"This portal is actually a continuity of e-rakyat bulletin which had entered its 20th edition since it was launched by the prime minister March 29 last year.
"It will be the official platform for BN for 14th general election, in accepting the challenge of new media as main player in this election."
Among the features of the portal include information on BN candidates who will contest in the general election, ‘Bicara 4 Mata’, which is a programme that produces special interview with BN top leaders, and explanation on the BN Manifesto.
Bicara 4 Mata will also be aired by RTM and TV3 on Wednesday every fortnightly, beginning with a special interview with Najib, discussing various issues that concerns the people. The programme will be aired 9.30pm for RTM and 11pm for TV3.
Reports by Hariz Mohd, Arnaz M. Khairul, Adrian Lai and Ain Radhi