During an 'off course' Cabinet meeting late last year, Prime Minister Najib Razak issued a directive to all ministries to set up a new media network to be managed by their respective capable staff or outsiders with good background.
His deputy Muhyiddin Yassin has been seeing bloggers on a few occasions. Zahid Hamidi, Shafie Apdal and a few more are in strong engagement with bloggers and news portal owners. Hishammuddin, once said he didn't trust bloggers, is having a change of mind and has already met bloggers at two meetings.
Rais Yatim is perhaps the best minister when it comes to engaging new media personnel. I am not sure how many but they are really helping the ministry and the government in their 'psy-war' against the Opposition.
Others, I am not so sure.
This posting is referring to a Cabinet briefing on February 22 on 'social media network'. Yes, the one which PM's junior officer Amhari briefed (many questioned why a rookie was engaged for such an assignment).
What drew my attention was not Amhari. It was a 'big gun' from the Media Prima group of companies, a Dato' Seri. Shall I mention his name? No need la, how many DS (Dato' Seri) are there at the media group, anyway!
This DS condemned new media such as blogs, news portals and twitters as 'being irrelevant and do not have any significant impact on readers'. Even pro-Umno and pro-BN bloggers, he said (as I was told by a minister who attended the briefing) are not helping the government at all, especially Umno.
And as such, he said the government and rakyat should stay tuned to the mainstream media and don't pay any attention to the new social media. In other words, he looks at blogs, news portals and twitters as a bunch of nuisance!
That's his perception. I don't blame him. Being a non-blogger himself and with no basic knowledge about new media (I don't know why he was appointed to that position), he should take care of the interest of mainstream media, especially the one he leads.
But to belittle business rival Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture did not reflect him as being pro-government either. Condemning any government ministry and agency is tantamount to undermining the whole administrative system as a whole.
However, many believe he was attacking the minister in charge. Rumors are rife that this DS was vying for a senatorship under Najib's next Cabinet lineup, as a ticket to replace the minister.
No wonder he got a special parking lot at the PM Dept...
And I also wonder why PM made him a special media person (media adviser?) to assist the government when this DS can be best described (pepatah Melayu) as 'api dalam sekam'.
If he speaks, obviously he speaks for the PM as well...