Rising email spam as BN cybertroopers battle Pakatan
KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Have you been receiving spam emails lately related to the plight of Indian Malaysians and the lack of attention from Pakatan Rakyat (PR)? How about Malaysia’s rise in the world competitive index by Swiss global business school IMD?
These emails appear to be from Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters who have been increasing their online activity in a battle with PR for voters’ hearts and minds.
The Malaysian Insider has received a number of spam emails written by BN supporters eager to stake a claim in cyberspace, as intense speculation over the date of the next general election continues.
Most of the spam emails touch on the Indian community, featuring titles such as “Malaysian Indian Welfare Association holds protest against Selangor government” and “Betrayal and opportunism: the tales of the 3 newest Indian champions”.
“Now that it is apparent that the Indians are fed-up with them and are choosing to once again place their faith in Najib Razak’s BN, the wounded Pakatan has launched a series of targeted attacks,” claims an email titled “Desperate to regain Indian support, Pakatan starts lying about BN.”
The email accused PR of belittling “the concrete efforts taken by the Najib administration, they (PR) also spread malicious and dangerous lies.”
It also listed the “concrete efforts” by the government to address the documentation and education woes of the Indian community, including the granting of scholarships and financial aid to Tamil schools.
The number of Indian voters satisfied with the prime minister’s leadership dropped from 80 per cent in February to 72 per cent in May, according to a recent survey by independent pollsters Merdeka Center.
Another email, “Citizenship for Bangladeshi votes — another made-up cyber war production” alleged that PR cybertroopers had hacked into Bangladesh’s NGO Affairs Bureau on the Prime Minister’s Office website.
It claimed that false information was then been placed on the website, where it was stated that Bangladesh nationals were given Malaysian citizenship if they vote for BN.
“Ultimately, is there any proof that Bangladeshi workers holding Malaysian ICs were permitted to cast their votes for BN in any election given that they have been around in Malaysia for the past few elections?” the author wrote.
The issue arose last September, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to deny the claims then.
Sources told The Malaysian Insider that BN strategists are offering money for supporters to start BN-friendly blogs even though blogging has been supplanted by Facebook and Twitter as the main source influence and news dissemination.
There has also been an increase in BN cybertroopers’ activity on micro-blogging service Twitter, sniping at PR leaders and activists.
Last Wednesday, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said that he expects 10,000 pro-BN Twitter accounts to sprout up and spread information, The Malay Mail reported.
“If people keep tweeting that ‘Bersih is bersih’, people will believe that the movement is genuine. Tweet back and start saying that Bersih is ‘kotor’ (dirty),” the information, communications and culture minister was quoted as saying by the English daily.
Last week, the Penang Barisan National chief Teng Chang Yeow was reported by The Malay Mail as saying that the coalition there will prepare 40 “cyber troopers and ground soldiers” in anticipation of polls.
Bernama reported last month that the Sabah BN Youth will hold a three-day cyber troopers workshop for 85 youth members, where they would be taught the skills and legal limits of cyber warfare.
Last November, Najib voiced his unconditional support for pro-BN bloggers and social media users, christening them the ruling coalition’s “new army”.
He pointed out that the online world was the new battlefront between BN and PR, and said pro-government bloggers need to combat the opposition’s “lies and half-truths” on the Internet.