LONDON, Aug 27 : Political leaders of today are facing greater and much more challenges than their previous counterparts had, mainly due to the continuous modern technological advancement and the ever-increasing popularity of the social media.
Bernama chairman, Datuk Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, in making the observation, today said this was a hard fact that past leaders should accept in making their judgement of the present leaders.
“Future leaders should also realise and take cognisance of this new phenomenon if they want to succeed in their careers,” he told a group of Malaysian student leaders at a forum on “Global Leadership: Current Challenges and Future Prospects” at The Malaysia Hall, here.
The students from 12 local universities are in the British capital attending a Global Leadership Programme at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford.
The week-long programme is jointly sponsored by Mubarak (Malaysian Council of Former Elected Representatives) and the respective universities as an extension of the “Parlimen Mahasiswa” programme jointly held in January this year by Mubarak, International Islamic University Malaysia and the Education Ministry.
Abdul Rahman, who is also Mubarak information chief, said today’s generation was better educated and enjoyed greater awareness of their surroundings as a result of wider connectivity.
He said although these developments were plus points for the present generation, they also brought about some negativities.
“This is partly due to the wide use of the social media to spread rumours, unsubstantiated allegations or even lies.
“As more and more people now rely on the Internet and the social media for information compared to the traditional media, public opinion therefore tend to be shaped by the social media.”
He said in the event that more skewed information were spread through the social media, opinions thus formed could be mere speculations rather than factual.
“This in turn forces political leaders to face an uphill task in getting the public’s buy-in for their policies, programmes, initiatives or even their very own leadership per se.”
Abdul Rahman said this problem was faced by almost all leaders in the world today.
Citing the so-called trust deficit now faced by the current Malaysian leadership, he said the Malaysian case appeared to be worse and could probably be due to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib’s visionary and transformational leadership ahead of his time and his move to introduce various reform agendas in an immature democracy.
Earlier, Mubarak president, Tan Sri Aziz Abdul Rahman who also spoke at the forum, expressed support for the prime minister’s recent move of reshuffling his cabinet.
He said the move was in line with the concept of collective responsibility practised in any parliamentary democracy.
Cabinet members, he said, could not have different voices on any decided issue. It was simply unacceptable and awkward, he added. – Bernama