REMEMBER those days when text message technology reigned supreme with DAP truly exploited it in the 2004 national polls by launching its short messaging service (SMS) election campaign as a channel to circumvent ‘blockage’ of opposition news/information by government-owned media agencies and mainstream media?
Well, fast forward two decades later, we are now observing not only an evolution from text-based messaging system to real-time video sharing on social media platforms but a plethora of exploits by political parties to disseminate a myriad of information to the masses.
Interestingly, such tool is so handy and user-friendly to say the least that even the older generation politicians – especially those from the opposition bloc – find them so effective to the extent of being capable of determining an election victory.
True or otherwise, it was said that PAS exploited the TikTok short-form video hosting platform so fruitfully by targetting Malay Muslim youths as part of their “green wave” agenda.
In fact, the fall of three ‘hinterland’ constituencies in mainland Penang during the 15th General Election (GE15) – namely Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) very own fortress Permatang Pauh, Kepala Batas (UMNO’s stronghold) and Tasek Gelugor – was attributed to the “TikTok wonder”.
Henceforth, the brouhaha at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday (March 23) between Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (PN-PAS) and Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Teo Nie Ching is understandable.
The former Federal Territories Minister who ‘jumped ship’ after being expelled from UMNO in the run-up to the GE15 was infuriated with an unsatisfactorily answer by Teo with regard to his question if her ministry had in any way instructed the TikTok platform provider to block his live broadcasts.
For context, Shahidan had claimed that the live TikTok streaming of his purportedly five-minute speech on Wednesday (March 22) was ‘blackout’ after three minutes and 45 seconds.
The Kulai MP then replied that her ministry has absolutely no knowledge on the matter and suggested that Shahidan “take his accusations outside the Dewan Rakyat and file a legal action so that the matter can be investigated”.
“I want to emphasise that the ministry has no knowledge why YB Arau’s TikTok Live was shut down yesterday (March 22) during his speech debate,” she said during the committee-level debate session on the Supply Bill 2023 at the Dewan Rakyat.
“(But) I think that the accusation that his TikTok Live went off because ministry has held collaborations and meetings with the social media platforms is irresponsible. If he’s really brave, he can leave the House and repeat his accusations again (outside) so that legal action can be initiated.”
A disgruntled Shahidan then stood up and interjected saying he had no time to challenge any party.
The situation in the Dewan Rakyat at one point turned chaotic when the order of the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Alice Lau Kiong Yieng for Shahidan to stop interrupting and sit down was ignored.
On the other hand Shahidan explained: “It’s not my duty to challenge anybody or to find a lawyer. That’s not our job. I just asked if the ministry was involved.
“If I can’t speak up in Parliament, where else can I speak? YB, I’m only asking for an explanation; just say ‘no’ if ‘no’ instead of challenging me to go outside. I’m not gila babi (crazy) enough to be embroiled in a challenge match. We’ve a lot of better things to do for the people.” – March 24, 2023