Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed yesterday that he has an account with social networking site Facebook to enable him to reach out to the grassroots.
Johari, who has been in politics for over two decades, said the site enabled interactive networking.
“Of course I encourage leaders of today to have such accounts for interactive networking, but having said that, we should be cautious too when dealing with cyberspace,” he told reporters after opening a management workshop for community leaders at a hotel here.
Facebook, which is operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc, allows users to join networks organised by city, workplace, school and region to connect and interact with others.
Users can also add friends and send messages apart from updating personal profiles.
“Nowadays, its Facebook. No more exercise book. The latest is Netbook… the voters now are different, if you are not up to date, they could lose confidence in you and you are out,” he said.
The key point, Johari said, is to be well versed with current technologies and to use them to facilitate one’s work and keep up with society.
He said all community leaders in the state must realise that they are now dealing with more sophisticated and knowledgeable members of society who demand efficient delivery service.
“Our delivery must be in line with our policies because we are dealing with an educated society now.
They know what the government is doing or if the government is trying to hide (something),” he said.
As such, he said community leaders should be alert at all times and well-versed on their responsibilities.
He said administrative practices should move in tandem with advancements in technology and leaders should learn to adapt.
Technology in the form of a simple camera phone, he said, could also help in the delivery system.
He cited an example where community leaders could document any case of vice happening in their respective areas with their camera phones to help the authorities with their investigations.
Aside from being technology savvy, he said community leaders should also update themselves with global situations and the cultures of other countries.
He explained that as an open economy would see foreign investors flocking to Sarawak, community leaders should know how to interact well with them and at least be able to speak English.
Johari said it was also important for community leaders to monitor happenings in their area and work closely with the Resident’s office or district office to help incidences of crime and vice.
Meanwhile, he lauded organisers for helping the state’s community leaders perform better in their duties through the workshop.
The two-day workshop was organised by the Human Resource Management Unit of the Chief Minister’s Department and Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak (Azam).
Also present at the opening were Deputy State Secretary Datu Abdul Ghafur Shariff and Azam chief executive officer Datu Aloysius Dris.