With rumors of Singapore Elections occuring in 2010, the PAP has trained its members, MPs and ministers to engage on Facebook. This is an increase of 80% from last year, bring the numbers from 25 to 41 MPs. After years of being plagued by the public in forums, blogs and websites, it seems that the PAP is taking steps to recover lost ground in cyberspace. The MPs that are on Facebook now are:
- Deputy Prime Ministers Wong Kan Seng
- Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean
- Foreign Minister George Yeo
- Environment Minister Yaacob Ibrahim
- Media and Communications Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
- Minister in PM’s office Lim Hwee Hua.
- Rear-Adm Lui (Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts)
- Lim Hng Kiang
- Khaw Boon Wan
- Michael Palmer
- Senior Parliamentary Secretary and North East District Mayor Teo Ser Luck.
- Central Singapore District Mayor Zainudin Nordin (also MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC).
Most MPs have accounts in their own name, although some have pages under their PAP branch or ward such as Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang’s Telok Blangah branch, or Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s Sembawang ward. Their pages are updated daily or several times a week, with comments and photographs.
This surge in this cyber-presence comes after failed attempts by p65.sg, REACH Singapore and other attempts to be relevant. MPs say the party’s 84 branches are encouraged to go online in a manner that members are comfortable with. So will this Facebook attempt achieve the objectives of the party? My take on this is NO. The audience that the ministers and MPs really need to reach to is still out there. Although alot of Singaporeans are Facebook users, the average number of “friends” these MPs have range between 1000 to 4000. This is good, but barely enough.
Unless stronger efforts are made to connect to citizens, this initiative will fail.