Apr 12, 2008

Malaysia's ruling party begins blogging

2008 is the year of BLOGGING.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Some candidates for posts in Malaysia's ruling party will be required to set up blogs, an official said Friday, a turnaround for governing politicians who had derided online politicking.

Abdul Rahman Dahlan, secretary general of the United Malays National Organization party's youth wing, said all those vying for national youth posts must have blogs to introduce themselves and their programs ahead of party elections in December.

It was not known if any senior leaders of the party will also start blogs to emulate opposition Democratic Action Party leader Lim Kit Siang, who has a popular Web journal.

But the decision appeared aimed at countering heavy losses that the ruling National Front coalition suffered in last month's general elections, partly because they underestimated the power of online campaigning. The United Malays National Party dominates the coalition.

"All candidates must have blogs," Abdul Rahman told The Associated Press. "If not, they are not qualified to be leaders."

In the past, party politicians have said bloggers spread lies and rumors. Many of Malaysia's blogs contain commentary critical of the government.

But now, even youth deputy Khairy Jamaluddin — who once compared bloggers to monkeys living by the law of the jungle — has a blog.

"The last election showed that we lost the cyberwar. We need to embrace the technology now," Abdul Rahman said.

He said help will be available for party members who do not know how to create a blog.

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