PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is one of the key amplifiers of divisive, racist, intolerant, and hate-based narratives, says the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)’s Social Media Monitoring Initiative.
In a statement, CIJ said it found that race-based narratives, especially about “Ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy) have been more widespread during the campaigning period between 20 October and 15 November.
“Race and religion-based hate speech have been weaponised to create fear and antagonism against the Chinese, thus attempting to influence Malay-Muslim voters to vote against Pakatan Harapan (PH) if they want their Malay and religious rights not to be eroded and influenced by non-Muslims.”
“It continues to narrow the space for more inclusive politics in our democracy,” the statement reads.
CIJ then pointed out the remarks Hadi made as he calls for violence against certain ethnic groups. He also started an anti-DAP social media post by claiming God will punish certain ethnic groups by eliminating them.
In addition, other PAS campaigners such as Sik PAS Youth chief Mohd Shahiful Nasir Mhd Nasir and celebrity supporters like Jamal Abdillah and Zul Huzaimy had been using inflammatory narratives and resorting to trigger fear among Muslim voters by calling Malay voters to unite and fight against the ethnic Chinese and Indians.
According to CIJ, the tactic deployed by Hadi and PAS is called ‘red-tagging’. Under this tactic, PAS will continue accusing their political rivals, especially DAP of being communists and promoting atheism as well as the queer community.
On the other hand, the report also flagged Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) for stressing that the fate of the Malay community rest with the coalition, and Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s use of race card by saying Perikatan Nasional (PN) will rule the country like the Taliban.
It’s the race card again
The initiative was conducted with assistance from USM, University of Nottingham Malaysia, and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
Through this initiative, over 52,000 unique posts were reviewed and they found that race-based narratives were among the most prevalent, with 32,066 posts. This was followed by religion (13,338), gender, and comments targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community (5,161), royalty (3,968), and comments targeting migrants and refugees (2,246).
These posts were spread across four major social media platforms, with Facebook at 31,969 posts, Twitter (18,165), TikTok (1,803 posts), and YouTube (75).