I did an overview of the web server platforms used by Malaysian political parties a few days back. I then decided to go further and examine the actual contents of the linked sites, hoping to somehow link to the fact that we’re going to have a general election very soon.
I can conclude that Malaysian political parties are absolutely clueless on harnessing the power of the Internet to their advantage in the upcoming elections. Continue reading to find out the abysmal failures of our political parties in using web technology to garner support from Malaysian netizens.
Failure 1: No clear indication on what they stand for
I don’t know about you, but if I were to cast my vote I sure as hell would like to know what the candidates and their party are representing. Not one of the political party web sites I showcased earlier touched on this subject. If it were, they obviously don’t think that this subject is worthy enough to be clearly highlighted on their web sites.
It closest thing I can find that resembles any sort of mission statement comes from the DAP web site in a form of a page entitled 8 key general election issues for Penang. So, is the DAP only interested to resolve issues pertaining to Penang? What about us Johoreans? What about Malaysians in general?
Issue 2: Virtually no request for votes
Hello? I’m a voter and I’m visiting your web sites to find out more on your party. And what do you present to me?
- UMNO: Half a page filled with threats and warnings
- MCA: Obsolete headlines which even includes the 2004 General Elections results! (Gasp!)
- MIC: Latest news is dated February 15 2008. The date this post is published is February 20 2008. Need I say more? Maybe I should… the “latest news” title is Even an army will not stop me, says Samy Vellu. Oh. My. God.
- Gerakan: Looks regularly updated which is a plus. However, there’s no obvious effort to elaborate more on their mission and targets for the next general elections
- PPP: A sad case of obvious sour grapes. For those who don’t understand Bahasa Malaysia, the front page of PPP’s web site laments the reluctance of MIC, MCA and Gerakan to “return” some seats to PPP
- PBB: An obvious cobweb of mediocrity. Latest content of any kind was published in 2002!
- PBS: Acceptable frequency of updates but very bland and no obvious reference to the upcoming elections
- DAP: Probably the only political party web site that puts significant effort in highlighting the upcoming elections (check out their right sidebar). However, at the time of this post the topics on the front page are totally relating to politicians and have nothing to offer the general populace
- PKR: Again, last update shown on the front page was dated Feb 14 2008. Virtually no election related topics. Has a general mission statement page, however it’s only in Bahasa Malaysia
- PAS: Seems regularly updated. Provides explanation for one of its election promises, an Islamic welfare state. Unfortunately, the entire site is in Bahasa Malaysia
Don’t you want my vote? Then why aren’t you telling me why I should vote for you?
Issue 3: Obvious lack of style
When I look at all the web sites mentioned above, I can’t help but feel like it’s 1996 all over again. We may live in the era of Web 2.0, but obviously nobody reminded our political parties of this fact.
Almost every single one of the web sites above looks like its cooked up in MS Frontpage and took no longer than two hours tops. More effort could have been put in place to make the web sites more presentable, accessable and useful.
I particularly find the splashscreen method employed by the UMNO and MCA web sites to be very annoying. Just get us to the content already!
It’s more than obvious that our political parties regard the Internet and their web sites as secondary (or lower) tools when it comes to campaigning. This is an absolute shame.
Web sites are convenient and easily accessible. Useful tools like RSS subscription, mailing list registration and “send this page to a friend” function can be easily integrated which will definitely help in furthering each party’s causes. Check out Barrack Obama‘s and Hillary Clinton‘s web sites; aren’t they thousands of times more elegant than our own political party web sites?
Perhaps I’m just totally missing the point that our political parties are only interested in IT-illiterate and non web-savvy voters? Or maybe that their campaigning funds are only enough to print out banners, flags and posters that will be destroyed within a week after voting?