BERSIH 2.0’s campaigns and allegations of fraud at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) are prime examples of social media threats to the Muslim community, said the government’s propaganda unit.
The two issues were used by Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director Faisal Ismail Aziz to illustrate how social media was being abused to spread political hate in the country.
Faisal said spreading political hate, along with terrorism recruitment, cyber crime and paedophilia, were ways that social media was being misused in Malaysia.
The spread of such information had caused hatred among Malaysians, he said, leading them to hold demonstrations against the government.
“The information about (these issues) are spread over social media but people don’t understand it,” the former Umno Youth exco said.
“It becomes a topic of conversation at the grassroots level and, in the end, people will become angry,” Faisal said on the sidelines of a conference of Asean and Saudi Arabian Muslim scholars in Kuala Lumpur today.
Faisal had delivered a video presentation on social media threats to the Muslim community at the Khayr Ummah Conference 2017.
Another example, Faisal said, was how Malaysians reacted to the United States Department of Justice’s announcement of civil suits against 1MDB last year.
“The DoJ had just made an announcement but in Malaysia, they already mounted a demonstration to Tangkap MO1 (Arrest Malaysian Official No. 1). Where’s the logic in that? There’s no logic,” he said.
“The spread of that information without a proper explanation sometimes makes people angry, and that anger is baseless. This is one of the social media threats, along with cyber crime and the few that I mentioned (in the presentation).”
The presentation included slides of Bersih’s third mega rally in Kuala Lumpur to call for electoral reform and an end to corruption in 2012. Snapshots of a police car overturned by a group of protestors during the rally was also shown.
The images formed part of Faisal’s presentation about how social media was being used to promote terrorism. To illustrate this, his presentation included videos of Islamic State militants recruiting Malaysians to fight in the Syrian civil war.
The presentation also included a video of how sexual predators used social media to hunt for victims.
In August last year, youth activists mounted the Tangkap MO1 rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur to press the government to investigate accusations that Malaysian officials had siphoned money from state firm 1MDB.
Tangkap MO1 was organised after the DoJ unveiled a civil suit to seize high-end properties and artwork bought in the US using money allegedly stolen from 1MDB.
The DoJ said about US$731 million (RM3 billion) in siphoned funds had found its way into the personal accounts of Malaysian Official No. 1 (MO1).
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan has since confirmed that MO1 refers to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said that the funds were a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.