MANY attribute the PAS green wave in the 15th General Election (GE15) to TikTok, but an academician from a local university has claimed that the problem is bigger and has sparked a stark political schism among the people.
People from both sides of the political divide were taken aback by the election results that gave the Islamic party 49 seats after the polls closed.
The sudden increase in support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, and in particular PAS, has analysts and observers scrambling for answers.
One of the explanations they had offered was that it was a flurry of TikTok videos endorsing PN and its chairman, former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that had caused the surge of the green wave.
Hundreds of short clips uploaded on the social media platform warning about a possible repeat of the deadly May 13, 1969 race riots served as a “warning” to those who planned to support the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
Other videos featured DAP as the scrooge and discussed perceived threats to the political power of Malaysia’s Malay-majority community should the party be allowed to be a part of any government.
Surprisingly, many of these videos were uploaded and possibly watched by kids who are below the voting age. But apparently, they had influenced the voting process in Malaysia.
However, according to the academician in question, Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, TikTok cannot be held responsible.
The green wave, according to the Professor of Architecture, did not come with irresponsible politicians and political parties that profited from the situation responsible for the rise in inflammatory rhetoric.
Recall that some people had accused PN of funding some of these videos although there is still no solid evidence pointing to that. TikTok had, in response, announced that it will not release any information related to its advertising revenue and the source of such revenues from Malaysia.
“Many analysts blame TikTok influencers and irresponsible politicians who might have financed these stupid influencers to do their dirty jobs for them, but I am the only one who says the problem is much bigger than that,” Dr Mohd Tajuddin wrote in an opinion piece on Sinchew Daily.
He noted that it is not just “desperate” politicians like PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang that is to be blamed. Rather, it is simply the “educators” that had side-stepped the topic of nation-building and the appreciation of differences as well as respecting other heritages and cultures.
“There is nothing significantly taught about the similarities of Islam with many other religions on civilisational values,” he added.
Dr Mohd Tajuddin further pointed out that some politicians are “extremely happy that the Malays are now hating DAP, Chinese and Christians more” despite the fact that there is no evidence that these three groups of Malaysians had “destroyed Tabung Haji or squandered billions at the expense of our national security”.
Yet, he lamented that these Malays find “great elation, contentment and happiness” in vilifying innocent non-Muslims.
As such, Dr Mohd Tajuddin implored the Malay Rulers to instruct the muftis and sermon writers under their power to save the country from the “incompetence of [those] who listen to TikTok, mosque preachers and opportunistic politicians without much question” with the assumption that they are doing all this for the sake of Islam.
“If not, in a matter of a few months, Malaysia will become unrecognisable and unliveable,” he warned.
For the record, a total of 2,113 video contents on the social media app TikTok have been automatically blocked for violating the social media platform’s Community Guidelines, said Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.
He said a total of 857 videos were blocked from Nov 12–18, 2022 and 130 videos were blocked by the company on the day of GE15 on Nov 19.
In a meeting with TikTok representatives on Dec 5, the company’s representatives had informed Fahmi that 95% of videos that violated the guidelines were automatically blocked and was not through complaints lodged by users. – Dec 14, 2022