A new fight has emerged on social media over the credibility of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak after some of his supporters launched a campaign to defend the beleaguered politician.
#RespectMyPM has been trending across social media platforms and is steadily gaining momentum, although it is being used by both those in favour of Razak’s leadership and those calling for him to resign.
Razak has been dogged over the past several months by allegations of corruption and diverting up to US$1 billion of state funds into his private accounts.
Razak denies all the allegations and in January was found not guilty of any improper conduct by Malaysia’s attorney general, who said the US$681 million payment into Razak’s account was a gift from the Saudi royal family.
The ruling outraged many people and, together with new allegations from the Wall Street Journal, the issue has been kept alive.
Just last week, 58 people from across the political spectrum, including former leader Mahathir Mohamad, signed a declaration demanding that Razak resign.
The #RespectMyPM hashtag was created in 2014 for then-newly minted Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, and Razak supporters have revived it.
It includes pictograms with the flags of all Malaysian states, designed to encourage supporters from all over the country to share their support.
However, several users across Twitter have hijacked the campaign to express their discontent and mock Razak. As such, it has become a battleground between those for and against the prime minister.
I sometimes send messages to people on Facebook but they don't reply. I wish they would learn to #RespectMyPM.— Amir Muhammad (@amirmu) March 6, 2016