KUCHING: Perception management is important in ensuring that the people are not misled by twisted facts and fake news about the Sarawak government, says Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department – Corporate Affairs and Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas) Abdullah Saidol.

Norhayati left and Abdullah speak to reporters at the event.

He points out the mismanagement of perception as the factor behind the downfall of the previous administration of the federal government, namely the Barisan Nasional (BN) and thus, he would not want the same thing to happen here.

“We all know the political games now and previously, how the previous federal government (under BN) fell due to its failure in perception management. We don’t want the people to be confused by false news,” he told reporters during Ukas’ first anniversary dinner here on Thursday.

Still on perception, he stressed its importance as it could influence the voters, whom he wanted to decide their votes based on the correct information, and not based on ‘misleading half-truths’.

Moreover, he said ‘the best psychological warfare’ would be to give ‘sincere and accurate information’ to the voters in the outskirts – be it good or bad news.

Should there be issues like water shortage, he said such information must be channelled to the relevant ministries, which then would come and provide information to the villagers.

“Don’t be afraid to put out news and information that need immediate attention.”

On Ukas, Abdullah said social media took centre-stage as far as disseminating and collecting information about the issues faced by the people was concerned.

“Ukas officers don’t have direct responsibility in combating fake news as they are not cyber-troopers.

“They, however, will stay alert on all adverse news, various allegations and such things, and collect them so that it can be managed by the government, so that these (information) can be corrected and (the more accurate news could be) disseminated to the public.”

He also called upon Ukas officers to always go to the ground instead of staying put in the office, so that they would be more effective in carrying out their duties.

“After one year in operation, Ukas is in the midst of maturing, redefining and retuning the responsibilities of its staff at each district and division.

“We also urge Ukas officers to cooperate with the media folk in sharing accurate information as Sarawak is a huge state; this is to ensure that all the government’s initiative would be heard throughout the state.”

On the dinner, Abdullah said the event hosted 145 Ukas officers from all over Sarawak, as well as 31 political secretaries.

Meanwhile, Ukas acting director Dato Norhayati Ismail expressed her confidence that the unit would be able to carry out its responsibilities well.

She said Ukas was formed as a communications unit for Sarawak, which did not exist previously.

“The scope exceeds corporate communications as it also collects information and helps in disclosing information to the public.

“We are the ones who gather the information and help government of the day to channel awareness of and information about the government’s policies and initiatives to the people,” she said.