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Published on: Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Umno cyber troopers have been ordered to go on the offensive against their opposition counterparts and not be "babau" (mute) when thrown with all sorts of accusations, slander and lies.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party and Barisan Nasional (BN) will no longer be sitting ducks when under fire by the opposition as had happened in previous general elections.

"We did a research on the 13th general election and we discovered that we were under heavy attack by those who were anti-Umno, anti-BN and anti-government but yet we were babau.

"They tried in the past two elections. In 2008, we were complacent after we won big in the 2004 election and the opposition took advantage of that.

"Then in 2013, they tried again. They said all kinds of things to convince the people to vote for them and we almost lost because we failed to respond.

"This time around, they will attack us worse than before because this is the last election which would determine our future," he said.

"But this time our IT Bureau will not be babau," he said when opening State level Umno Social Media Convention at Bangunan Umno Sabah, Saturday.

Zahid said the opposition cyber troopers received overseas training in countries like Taiwan and because Umno and BN then did not counter their lies and slander, the ruling coalition was convicted in the court of public opinion.

"They attacked us repeatedly using the same story board that influenced negative public perception on the BN.

"They made us look like criminals and we were punished in the court of public opinion.

"We knew they were lies but people believed them," he said.

He said among the lies spread by the opposition in social media was about 40,000 Bangladeshi nationals being brought into the country to vote in the election.

He said obviously this was fake news and the BN now has to be wary about such surprise last minute attack.

The Sabah Umno IT Bureau, he said, was the biggest election machinery in the country, compared with all the other states.

He instructed its members to start using social media to correct misconceptions which could cause the people to go against the party.

More than 80pc of voters, he said, were on social media and an overwhelming 92pc of voters aged between 18 and 29, mostly first-time voters, had social media accounts.

He urged Umno members to engage these first-time voters online, especially because it was highly unlikely these voters would want to attend political talks.

"If we win big in this coming election and if it is thanks to the work done by the IT Bureau, don't worry, I know how to repay them," he said. - Jeremy S Zabala

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