Incoming prime minister and Umno president Najib Abdul Razak said the new media cannot be regarded as an adversary.
His remark, made during his opening speech at Umno’s 59th annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur tonight, comes hours after six new media publications were denied media accreditation to cover the event.Â Â Â
Najib said Umno leaders must ensure that they remain ahead of the curve and not become mere reactionary followers.
This, he said, entails a careful re-evaluation and re-examination of the attitudes and value systems of the members of Umno.
“For a simple example, let us look back at the elections of 1999, when the new media first appeared as an influential forum.
“We took it lightly and paid very little heed to that development. Five years later in 2004, we still paid very little attention to the importance of the alternative media,â€ he said.
“We were lulled by the massive mandate given to us to the extent that we made no preparations for battle within the cybersphere. In the end, we were rudely awakened in 2008 when we suddenly realised the folly of not understanding the power of the new media,â€ he added.
Like it or not, Najib said: “We cannot regard the new media as our enemy.â€
Speak the language of the cyber community
He called on the new generation of Umno leaders to be active participants in this important development.
“The younger generation of Umno members must be able to speak the language of the cyber community and be leaders in the utilisation of technology as an essential part of our political arsenal.
“Only then can we win in the battle of ideas and influence in the arena of politics,â€ he said.
Apart from Malaysiakini, the other organisations denied official access for the Umno assembly are The Nut Graph, Malaysian Insider, Siasah, Merdeka Review and Chinese website Laksou.
Malaysiakini submitted its applications on Feb 27 and was unofficially informed yesterday that it would not be granted accreditation.
Officials at the party headquarters today informed Malaysiakini journalists that the decision to deny the official media tag was made at a higher level.
Source : Malaysiakini