By Lian Cheng and Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 16: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong claims that Peninsular Malaysian anti-DAP cyber troopers stormed her social media page and called her names following former Prime Minister Najib Razak making a social media post, repeating her comments where she likened the new ‘Premier’ designation for Sarawak’s Chief Minister to a tissue paper brand during her debate in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday.
When met by the media on the sidelines of the ongoing DUN sitting today, she acknowledged her comments during her debate on the Constitution of the State of Sarawak Amendment Bill, 2022 yesterday.
Yesterday, Yong compared the designation of ‘Premier’ which has been proposed to replace ‘Chief Minister’ with the Premier tissue brand.
Continuing with her analogy, she joked that one package of Premier tissue paper costs only RM9.99 in Shopee.
Despite the growing vocal objections from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) YBs, she carried on to highlight Premier credit cards and a commercial hub called Premier 101 here in Kuching.
Today, she explained that it all started when she was drafting her debate speech on the Bill, which among others, involved the change of the designation of ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’, the first thing that came to her mind was the image of the Premier brand of tissue paper followed by a credit card brand and local commercial development Premier 101.
However, she said in a political sense, she knew ‘Premier’ could mean the head of an executive government, evidently in her quoting of the Premiers of Canada and Australia during the argument.
“Of course, during my debate, I brought out the so-called printed photo of tissue paper brand – Premier and showed it to the Speaker. And that was captured, I think, by the media. The photo (was) quite a nice one with me smiling and the page being so colourful.
“So I made some short comments on my Facebook page, saying that I helped Premier to do some advertisement in my DUN debate, as well as that this Bill has been passed, we have to call our Chief Minister ‘Premier’,” said Yong.
She then claimed that the short comments on her social media page had attracted the attention of the media, including Najib whom she said reposted a screenshot of her Facebook page and on his own, which has a substantial following.
“So the moment he uploaded my post, suddenly my Facebook page got a lot of comments coming in. Like instantly. Like the notifications kept on coming. I was bombarded and (my Facebook was) flooded by all these cyber troopers.
“I don’t know who they are but when I tried to look into their profiles, most of them, I can say 99.9 per cent are Peninsular Malaysians either from Johore, Kedah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and all in Malay names or Bumi names whom I don’t know.
“I know these people are not the usual Facebook friends of mine. I was agitated, with all these unnecessary bombardment by Najib. Because apparently what he posted on his Facebook shows that he did not go through the text of my speech regarding the amendment to the State Constitution of Sarawak. He is trying to twist the topic.”
Facebook users are able to comment freely on a public profile or page, much like the ones used by Yong and Najib, unless the page restricts them from doing so in the settings.
“This is not our culture in Sarawak. I was a bit shocked the moment suddenly all these comments coming in but I tried to turn it off because there was no point for me to switch on the comment mode, because all the words or languages that they used were West Malaysian language and the choice of words that they used were very harsh and very demeaning and rude; they scolded you with all the unnecessary terms which I think is unbecoming of Malaysians,” said Yong.
In the face of such hostility, she said she understood that in politics, politicians had to face criticisms.
Despite this, she believed that the tactic of attacking someone with demeaning or low class criticism should not come into play.
“But I know they use this opportunity to tarnish DAP’s image. But I trust the wisdom of the people and if you do follow my page, I was fighting for Sarawakians’ rights,” said Yong, citing her assertions to drop the word “Negeri” (state) in Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajan Negeri (The State Cabinet) to just Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan during the debate.
She said apart from that, in her debate, she also questioned the reason of why when a cheque was issued to the Sarawak government, the recipient must be addressed as “Kerajaan Negeri Sarawak” (Sarawak state government) and not just “Sarawak government”.
Yong said during her debate, she tried to make her stance clear that since Sarawak was no longer a state, there should be no insistence on the word “Negeri” to be included, unless whatever the government was doing now was simply “cosmetic”.— DayakDaily