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Observing Malaysian Social Media

Response to Najib Razak’s Absence at #Nothing2Hide Event by Twitter Users in Malaysia

1. Background

A dialogue between Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak and non-government organisations (NGO) was scheduled to be held at PWTC on Friday, June 5th 2015 (9 am – 11 am) [1]. The event was organised by the Malaysian Volunteer Lawyers Association (SukaGuam) and titled, #Nothing2Hide. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir was also expected to attend [2].

Minutes before the event was due to start, the IGP announced that the event was cancelled to ensure public order [3]. Despite that the audience stayed on even after confirmation that the PM would not be attending [4].

Rumours started circulating on Twitter that the PM was ‘scared’ of Tun Dr.Mahathir, who took to the stage at 10.33 AM [5]. Minutes later, the police asked him to stop and prevented him from continuing. This sparked further outrage online.

At 5.17 PM, Najib Razak tweeted a statement saying that he was ready to have a dialogue with NGOs provided it was held in a peaceful environment [6]. Remarks about Najib Razak and #Nothing2Hide continued over the next few days.

2. Our Analysis

We performed opinion-based analysis on 1000 users based in Malaysia who tweeted about the #Nothing2Hide event, Najib Razak and related terms from June 5th – June 8th 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.

Users were selected based on their tweet content and activity during this period. Sampling was done per-state based on the current estimated user population.

Spammers, news agencies and accounts with automated tweets were not included in the sample.

From this dataset we analysed the individual Twitter user timelines to determine their opinion. This took their tweets, retweets and conversations into account.

Our goal was to gauge the response by users in Malaysia to the Prime Minister not showing up at the event. We focused our analysis on their opinion of the PM and their general response to his absence at the event. Opinions about Tun Dr. Mahathir were not included as part of the detailed analysis.

Based on this analysis we categorised users as belonging to one of the following categories:

  1. Positive
  2. Neutral
  3. Negative (general)
  4. Negative (directed to @NajibRazak)

The results are shown in the following chart:

nothing2hide_pie1

Category Users (%)
Positive 20 2.00
Neutral 25 2.50
Negative (general) 677 67.70
Negative (directed to @NajibRazak) 278 27.80

The combined total for users with Negative opinions is 955 users, or 95.5% of the total.

3. Findings

What follows are the findings for each category.

3.1 Positive

20 users (2.00%)

These users were supportive of the PM being absent. Among the reasons they stated were:

  • Support cancellation of event as Najib Razak does not need to deal direct with media/bloggers/public. Because he is the PM he is ‘above that’.
  • Felt that the negative backlash was over-blown and felt the need to express support for the PM
  • Supportive of Najib Razak’s statement of having a dialogue when more peaceful and secure
  • Saw no value of seeing Tun Dr.Mahathir and Najib Razak debating
  • Trusted the police statement that the venue was not secure

3.2 Neutral

25 users (2.50%)

These users tweeted no negative or positive remarks and did not appear to be passing judgement on anyone. They expressed the following sentiment:

  • Open to the possibility that Najib Razak had good reason not to come
  • Hopeful for a rescheduling of the event

3.3 Negative (general)

677 users (67.70%)

Largely comprised of insults and people making fun of Najib Razak indirectly by referencing his name, title or using terms like ‘Jibby’. Remarks similar to the following were common in English and Bahasa Malaysia:

  • “Shame on you”
  • “I am ashamed of this country / our PM”
  • “You (the PM) are a coward”
  • “PM Najib must resign”
  • “I have lost faith in you”

Other common types of remarks included:

  • Disappointment at the PM not showing up as they had been looking forward to it
  • Disbelief on the security issue
  • Demanding right to know what is going on with 1MDB
  • Lost faith/respect for UMNO/BN
  • Pity Najib but feel he needs to go
  • Najib needs to go to save BN

3.4 Negative (directed to @NajibRazak)

278 users (27.80%)

These were users who tweeted remarks directly to @NajibRazak. These were comprised of the same remarks mentioned above, with a higher incidence of foul language and name-calling. By tagging the PM publicly these users showed that they were not concerned about the PM reading their tweets.

4. Additional Opinions

Users tweeting about the #Nothing2Hide event also expressed the following opinions/sentiment on related topics. This listing was summarised based on a manual reading of a sample of 3,036 users in Malaysia, inclusive of the sample used for the above analysis.

These expressions are not indicative of their views on Najib Razak’s absence at the event, but we are including it here for informative reasons:

  1. Expressions of support for Tun Dr.Mahathir for speaking up
  2. Expressions of pity and outrage when the police stopped Tun Dr.Mahathir from speaking
  3. Using the #Nothing2Hide hashtag to make personal confessions. It is worth noting that many of the users we saw engaging in this meme were also retweeting tweets about the event and criticism of Najib Razak. This shows that they were aware of what was going on.
  4. Paranoia by a minority of users who felt that pitting Malays against each other was exactly what non-Malays and/or DAP want. Whether they were referring to debates between Mahathir supporters and Najib supporters or criticism of Najib by Malays was not always clear.

5. Opinion by language

A higher percentage of Bahasa Malaysia speakers belonged to the ‘Negative (directed to @NajibRazak) category compared to English speakers and Bilingual speakers. The division of percentages is:

  • 22.31% of all English speakers
  • 30.55% of all Bahasa Malaysia speakers
  • 21.79% of all Bilingual speakers

This means Bahasa Malaysia speakers were more likely to direct their disapproval towards the PM compared to the other speakers.

6. About the Population Sample

The results reflect a young demographic, by our estimates to be between 18 – 30 years old. Users were predominantly Bahasa Malaysia speakers:

  • 67% Bahasa Malaysia speakers
  • 25% English speakers
  • 8% Bilingual speakers

nothing2hide_langpie

7. Conclusion

The analysis indicates that the overwhelming majority of Twitter users in Malaysia disapproved of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s absence at the event.

We found 3 main contributing factors that influenced users to voice negative opinions against Najib Razak:

1. The PM saying he had darah pahlawan (warrior’s blood) the day before. This tweet that was sent later that night was frequently referred to by users:

2. The PM not showing up at the event

3. The police not allowing Tun Dr. Mahathir to finish speaking

With 67% of the sample being Bahasa Malaysia speakers and 30.55% of them choosing to voice their disapproval directly to the PM, the message here is that young Bahasa Malaysia speakers are not afraid to criticise the PM openly in large numbers. The high degree of profanity and personal insults imply they no longer respect the PM.

8. Scale of Importance on Twitter

8.1 Comparison to other topics

We collected 61,236 tweets from 26,868 users on June 5th. When compared to other topics that we have tracked this year, the number of users tweeting about #Nothing2Hide in one day was greater than the number of users tweeting about 1MDB in the 1st quarter of this year (21,979 users).

The chart below illustrates how #Nothing2Hide compares with other topics this year. Keep in mind that this is a new topic compared to the others:

RecentPoliticalTopic_Circles_Jun2015

8.2 The scale of conversation

This network graph shows how Twitter users tweeting about #Nothing2Hide and @NajibRazak from June 5th – June 8th were connected. This includes all users on Twitter limited to those who retweeted or had conversations with each other. This helps visualise the scale of the conversation.

Nothing2Hide_Najib_Jun5_6_RTsConversations_1000px_unfiltered

Each user is represented by a node (circle) that is coloured based on the number of their tweets that were retweeted and the number of tweets sent to them. The more attention they receive, the larger the node. Any node that retweets another node or tweets to another node is connected.

Nodes are positioned based on their connections to other nodes – strong connections pull them closer. Large nodes are considered influential within the network. We have coloured the nodes based on a scale of blue (least influential) to green; yellow; orange; red; and purple (most influential).

Due to the scale of the graph, we can only show names from the top 245 most influential users as seen below:

Nothing2Hide_Najib_Jun5_6_RTsConversations_1500px_filtered

There are 36,685 users with 72,388 connections within the unfiltered graph. The most popular users were:

  1. @najibrazak
  2. @hafizhamidun
  3. @capricetv
  4. @501awani
  5. @malaysiakini
  6. @syafique
  7. @jack_vladimir
  8. @blogserius
  9. @themmailonline
  10. @thekhayalan15
  11. @adrianlimcheeen
  12. @suara_generasi
  13. @sumishanaidu
  14. @drmahyuddin
  15. @fahmimaharudin
  16. @putrareformasi
  17. @_amranfanz
  18. @aniqufakhrul
  19. @khairunnaim5
  20. @nst_online
  21. @tundrmahathir
  22. @faizfadzil
  23. @dilaraden
  24. @liy
  25. @wordsmanifest

9. Popular Content

The following tweets are among the most popularly shared tweets / images on this topic.

10. Location of users

Based on geo-tagged tweets, we are able to determine where users often tweet from. This is indicative of where they spend most of their time e.g. work-place, university, residence.

Blue markers = Positive; Red markers = Negative; Yellow markers = Neutral

10.1 West Malaysia

nothing2hide_west_msia

10.2 East Malaysia

nothing2hide_east_msia

11. References

[1] (2015, June 4) #Nothing2Hide: SukaGuam Produces Trailer To Promote NGOs Dialogue With Najib. Malaysian Digest. Retrieved from http://www.malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/29-4-tile/556443-nothing2hide-sukaguam-produces-trailer-to-promote-ngos-dialogue-with-najib.html
[2] https://twitter.com/Suara_generasi/status/606419547210457088
[3] https://twitter.com/KBAB51/status/606624920508862465
[4] https://twitter.com/sumishanaidu/status/606641744394883072
[5] https://twitter.com/hooliganatwork/status/606649988123271169
[6] Najib Razak (2015, June 5) Dialog Dengan Badan-Badan Bukan Kerajaan. NajibRazak.com. Retrieved from http://najibrazak.com/bm/blog/dialog-dengan-badan-badan-bukan-kerajaan/

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Written by politweet

June 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm

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