“I am Malaysian. And I #RespectMyPM”
Those are the words that have been flooding Facebook and Twitter – a campaign launched by supporters to urge the public to show their support towards Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The hashtag has since gone viral after shooting to the top of Malaysia’s Twitter chart.
For those unaware, the social media campaign for #RespectMyPM first started in India during 2014 for new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the hashtag revived by Malaysians has now triggered a social media war between supporters of the prime minister and those demanding his resignation.
Aside from the Malaysian flag, the hashtag was also plastered on all the Malaysian state flags. Calling on the public to rally behind Najib, a supporter on the Pertahan Negara Kita (Defend Our Country) Facebook page suggested for their profile pictures be replaced with these posters for this month.
The Star reported that the campaign had started several weeks ago but only began to intensify after a declaration to “Save Malaysia” was signed last Friday. Dubbed as the Citizen’s Declaration, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as suspended Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other politicians have accused Najib of causing profound damage to the country.
The inked declaration included working towards the removal of Najib and all those in support of him. Several users have taken to Twitter to voiced out that although criticism is sometimes necessary, it needs to be channeled in a proper manner.
A man who was elected through democratic way, only fair if removed through the same process #RespectMyPM
— Dhanyaraam (@dhanyaraam) March 7, 2016
However, Asrul Muzaffar Mohammed feels that the campaign has backfired saying, “At time of writing, #RespectMyPM is currently viral on Twitter and at No. 1 trending in Malaysia. But before you jump for joy, do check out WHY it is trending.”
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan also pointed this out in his tweet saying, “#RespectMyPM is trending, but for all the wrong reasons hahahaha.”
#RespectMyPM is trending, but for all the wrong reasons hahahaha
— Syahredzan (@syahredzan) March 6, 2016
And that’s not all.
Another group of Twitter users have made a play on the word “respect”, replacing it instead with more “appropriate” words that they think would suit the prime minister. It also looks like this campaign has resulted as a platform for mockery and sarcasm.
— OMG Malaysia (@omgmalaysia) March 7, 2016
In spite of that, others have pointed out that respect is earned, not forced. Perhaps some of you would agree that the nation should come first and not any particular individual.
Respect is EARNED,
Not paid, not forced and DEFINITELY NOT FROM A HASHTAG.
this is the funniest hashtag I ever seen #RespectMyPM
— lit (@LynnetteTayWL) March 7, 2016
What say you
— Merong Mahawangsa (@erepit) March 4, 2016