Anwar faces tough, ‘uncomfortable’ questions on Google Hangout, says PKR
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s live Google Hangout event tonight will be a chance for the federal opposition leader to showcase his ability to answer “uncomfortable” questions from the public, his party PKR said today, pointing out that it expects him to face a tough time from the public.
Anwar will be “the first Malaysian and Southeast Asian politician to be featured on a Google Hangout on Air event,” PKR’s communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad told reporters.
Praba Ganesan, the party’s social media strategist, said that other Southeast Asian leaders have not had similar online forums yet “because it’s direct engagement and it puts leaders in the hot seat”.
He also said “not many leaders can deal with direct questioning and uncomfortable questioning”, adding that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was looking forward to “changing the culture of engagement in the country.”
Nik Nazmi said “more than 700 people have marked their attendance on the Facebook page” and expects more to view the online chat, adding that the advertisement on Google has “registered 40,000 hits.”
The Facebook and Google+ pages set up for the event described “Borak Bersama Anwar” as a Google Hangout event with the de facto PKR leader and opposition chief that will be broadcasted live via YouTube.
The “Borak Bersama Anwar” live chat-room on YouTube is set for 10.30pm local time tonight, just two days before the country celebrates Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
The party has also set up #BorakAnwar as the official hashtag for the event, to be used on the Twitter microblogging site.
The public can submit their questions through Twitter, Google Plus Events and Facebook.
A group of panellists will field 40 per cent of the questions, while another 40 per cent will be from written questions online and the rest to be from selected questions forwarded during the event.
Praba said that would make 60 per cent of the questions unplanned.
Nik Nazmi said the topics will be a mix of serious and light-hearted questions to keep viewers tuned in for the hour-long session.
The duo said the panellists have been carefully picked to be representative of Malaysia’s population, with a Malaysian residing overseas to be a guest tonight.
While Anwar has seized on the Internet to deliver his message after being shut out of the mainstream media, his online presence is still less than his rival, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s.
A check with the social media monitoring site socialbakers.com on August 8 showed Najib has 1,135,529 “likes” on Facebook and 801,833 followers on Twitter against Anwar’s 379,612 “likes” on Facebook and 179,830 following him on Twitter.
But his followers hope the Google Hangout will expand his appeal to Internet-savvy young voters, who are said to make up three million of the country’s 12 million-strong electorate.
The PR opposition pact has always been seen as having the upper hand in cyberspace presence over Barisan Nasional, but in recent months the ruling coalition has expanded its online presence with several pro-BN news portals and a rising number of supporters taking to Twitter.
US President Barack Obama and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard have also used Google Hangout to engage their citizens, with the former using it as part of his re-election campaign.