Why politicians should use Twitter

Yesterday, local politician, Khairy Jamaluddin was given some advice about his usage of Twitter, from a senior media figure:


has been given unsolicited advice by a senior media figure to stop tweeting if I want to be taken seriously as a politician. :(

Khairy is not just any ordinary politician. He’s young (33), the leader of UMNO Youth (the youth organisation for the largest political party in Malaysia, that creates the majority of the component party Barisan Nasional), overseas educated from young, and seems like a smart chap. He’s tomorrow’s leader. He’s got a pretty lengthy Wikipedia entry, if you want to know his credentials.

The media in Malaysia has painted nothing but a fairly negative picture of Khairy. When his father-in-law was the Prime Minister, he was widely criticised. When his father-in-law left, the current Prime Minister decided not to pick him for a position in the Cabinet, despite being the leader of the UMNO Youth (first in history, I believe). So to be fair, I myself have never held Khairy in high regards.

OK, let’s go back to the fact that Khairy is young. And he’s the leader of the young guns (aka future voters). So he’s more versatile to adopting to the communication mediums of the young. And that’s something the rest of his archaic party members just don’t seem to get.

Thanks to Twitter, I’ve seen the human-side of Khairy. He appeals to me more as a politician now. In fact, if more from his party do that (and more importantly, do it correctly), there’s going to be a swing to getting more people voting for the Barisan Nasional.

Politicians have never really been very accessible. With Twitter, even though Khairy only follows 55 people, he has 2,589 followers. Why? He reads his @reply queue. He occasionally responds to them (in a very politically correct fashion — he never engages in anything that may seem detrimental quite naturally). So even if he doesn’t respond, you know he’s reading your comments. So you can choose to be snarky, you can choose to have your own opinions, and he’s going to read them (short of him blocking you).

Anyway, back to the point. I take Khairy more seriously as a politician because he tweets. Another Twitter user @kamal, basically said: “Fox Communications is just being a spoiled sport you are handling your own PR”. That could very likely be it. Eight minutes later, Khairy tweeted: “Notwithstanding +ve tweet replies from tweeps, KJ is re-evaluating tweet career in case “seriousness” is KPI at next reshuffle. :p”. Good to note that people told him to continue using the social medium, known as Twitter.

Oh, and I’m young. The other youngsters aren’t bothered about listening to government propaganda. They’re getting information off the Web. They want to be interacted with. Perils of the Gen Y voter, eh? And Khairy understands them… because he himself is a Gen Y voter (I should think).

Kudos Khairy. Continue Tweeting. Continue utilising social media. And good luck in your political career.


For those interested, I’ve started a list with regards to Politicians in Malaysia Using Social Media. Its far from complete, but you can help!

  • i like him more now that he tweets. not just because he uses it and knows how to use it, but what he shares makes him seem human. well, what you said lah.

  • Reubenhot

    Sorry, unless he apologizes for his barbaric, animal, embarrassing, sorry bum of a politician, behaviors that has become the example for the UMNO Youth and Malays in general, I have no respect nor will acknowledge any actions taken as a politician figure. My request is simple, Humble yourself and apologize for past actions personally to the people and all will be forgiven.

    Don’t mean to start a flame war

    Your article is straight to the point and sincere, Love the objective stance. In fact if all politicians were as open to this new medium of communication it will enchance the personal touch that the people voted for in the 1st place.

    No hard feelings…

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  • I have to agree w/ you on this. Even though I’m disillusioned by the party, following his tweets made me look @ him in a more human sense. Basically you summed it up better :)

  • i just love Twittering compared to blogging. i was a blog addict and now i am a Twitter addict.


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