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Observing Malaysian Social Media

Analysis of Support for the TPPA by Twitter Users in Malaysia

1. Background

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA/TPP) is a free trade agreement between 12 countries with a combined market of 800 million people and combined GDP of USD 27.5 trillion [1]. TPPA negotiations began in March 2010 with Malaysia becoming the 9th member in October 2010. The countries involved in the agreement are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Malaysia
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam

In Malaysia 2 anti-TPPA protest rallies (called #BantahTPPA) were held on January 23rd 2016 [2]:

  • A PAS-led protest held at Padang Merbok (KL) and estimated to have 4,000 protesters
  • A protest composed of student activists, civil society leaders, Opposition party leaders and supporters along Jalan Parlimen near Dataran Merdeka. The crowd was estimated to contain 500 protesters.

After a 2-day debate in Parliament the TPPA was approved on January 27th. The TPPA was signed in Auckland, New Zealand on February 4th [3].

 

2. Our Analysis

We performed opinion-based analysis on 600 users based in Malaysia who tweeted about the TPPA and related terms from January 18th – February 8th 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4%.

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. Only users who had an opinion about the TPPA were used in the sample.

Our goal was to gauge public support by Twitter users in Malaysia for the TPPA. As this was a complex trade agreement our expectation was that the result would be heavily weighted towards not supporting the TPPA.

This is because the average person would find the document difficult to comprehend and relate to their own interests. It would be easier to dismiss it and not comment on it. Conversations about the TPPA would therefore likely be driven by politically partisan people and users looking for simple answers. Given the level of distrust of government sources of information, it is possible for such users to be manipulated.

Therefore the percentage of users opposing the TPPA has less value than the details. Identifying the most popular reasons for opposing the TPPA would prove insightful.

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

  1. Support
  2. Neutral
  3. Don’t Support

Users who did not support the TPPA expressed a variety of reasons. Based on samples of the data we determined the most frequently mentioned reasons. The popular reasons for opposing the TPPA were then grouped into the following categories:

  1. Fear of Colonisation & Loss of Sovereign Rights
  2. Exaggerated Fears / Propaganda
  3. Competition & Foreign Labour
  4. Distrust of Government / BN
  5. Increases in Price of Medicine
  6. Economic Burden Similar to GST
  7. Islamic Reasons

The results are shown in the following charts.

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Written by politweet

April 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Popular Chinese New Year Content Shared By Users in Malaysia (2016)

cny_top_media_2016

The first day of Chinese New Year was celebrated worldwide on February 8th 2016. We collected tweets mentioning Chinese New Year in English and Bahasa Malaysia from February 7th – February 12th 2016. This was limited to the most common phrases – ‘Tahun Baru Cina’, ‘Chinese New Year’, ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’, ‘CNY’ and similar spellings. Our focus was on identifying the content that was widely shared and the demographics of users tweeting Chinese New Year greetings.

From the tweets collected we prepared listing of popular tweets and media shared by users in Malaysia, limited by the language used. More details on the methodology used are at the end of this post.

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Written by politweet

February 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Evaluating the Response to the National Security Council Bill by Twitter Users in KL and Selangor

1. Background

The National Security Council (NSC) 2015 Bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on December 1st [1]. The purpose of the bill is, “to establish the National Security Council with powers, among others, to control and coordinate, and to issue directives to, the Government Entities on matters concerning national security. The proposed Act also empowers the Prime Minister, upon advice by the Council, to declare certain area in Malaysia as a security area. Special powers are given to the Security Forces in the security area.” [2]

Within a security area, security forces may:

  • evacuate persons from the area
  • enforce a curfew on all persons within the area
  • control the movement/entry/exit of persons and vehicles
  • arrest any person suspected of committing an offence (without a warrant)
  • stop and search any person, vehicle or premises (without a warrant)
  • seize any vehicle if it is suspected to have been used in the commission of an offense
  • take temporary possession of land, building or movable property in the interest of national security or as accommodation for security forces; with conditional compensation to aggrieved persons
  • demolish unoccupied buildings that may be used by persons who are a threat to national security; with conditional compensation to aggrieved persons

Additionally the Council, its members, the security forces or personnel of Government entities are protected from legal action.

The combination of a lack of accountability and enforcement powers given to the PM were highlighted by the Opposition and civil society members.

Following the passing of the bill on December 4th [3], the #TakNakDiktator campaign on December 8th [4]. The goal of the campaign is to spread awareness of the issue and stop the bill from being made into law.

As of December 20th, 22,552 supporters have signed the online petition and 6,481 users have tweeted the #TakNakDiktator hashtag.

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Written by politweet

December 24, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Response to The Race of Bersih 4 Protesters by Twitter Users in Peninsular Malaysia

1. Background

From August 29th – August 30th a rally entitled ‘Bersih 4’ was held on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and other locations globally.

The demands of the rally were for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down and a transitional government to be formed. This government would need to implement 10 institutional reforms within the next 18 months to ensure the next General Election would be conducted in a clean, free and fair manner:

  1. Reform of electoral system and process
  2. Reform of the Election Commission (EC)
  3. Separation of Prime Minister and Finance Minister
  4. Parliamentary Reform
  5. Separation of the functions of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution
  6. Reform of the MACC
  7. Freedom of Information laws
  8. Asset declaration by Ministers and senior state officials
  9. Abolishment of/Amendment to draconian laws
  10. Establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

During the first day of the rally the race of the participants in Kuala Lumpur was raised as an issue by the media and by social media users. It was clear that the majority of the protesters were ethnically Chinese. The ethnic majority was also reported by Malaysiakini [1], Utusan Malaysia [2] and Berita Harian [3].

By our own estimates, 79,919 – 108,125 people attended the Kuala Lumpur rally over the 2-day period. Based on photographs seen during our crowd estimation, we would roughly estimate that 60% – 80% of the protesters were ethnically Chinese.

The race of the protesters became an issue due to media reports and Bersih 4 supporters and detractors highlighting the race of the protesters. This provoked a response by users on Twitter as they tweeted their own opinions on the rally.

2. Our Analysis

We performed opinion-based analysis on 500 users based in Peninsular Malaysia who tweeted about Bersih 4 (and related terms), race (e.g. ‘Melayu’, ‘Cina’, ‘Malay’, ‘Chinese’), racism and related terms from August 29th – September 2nd 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.38%.

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.

Users who were only observing the number of Chinese present were not included in the sample. This was because we wanted to gauge their opinion on the Chinese majority and whether it was an issue to them.

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

One issue we encountered was a lack of users in East Malaysia tweeting about Bersih 4 and racial terms. Both sets of data were too limited to consider using for analysis. For this analysis we only focused on users in Peninsular Malaysia.

Our goal was to gauge the response by Twitter users in Peninsular Malaysia to the race of protesters at the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur. Was the race of protesters really an issue, and if so, why?
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Written by politweet

October 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

Posted in Analyses

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Facebook Census of Political Interest in Malaysia, August 2015

1. Introduction

This document provides a measurement of the political interests of Facebook users in Malaysia and a brief analysis of recent trends. This is based on public information collected from Facebook. Characteristics and interests were chosen based on what would be most relevant to political analysts.

Statistics cover users aged 21 years and older unless otherwise specified.

Some important notes to remember when interpreting figures:

  1. Total population refers to Facebook users aged 13 years and above.
  2. Potential voters refer to Facebook users aged 21 years and above.
  3. Youth refers to Facebook users aged 13 – 20 years.
  4. Gender breakdown figures do not add up to the total. This may be due to Facebook users not sharing their gender, and also due to rounding errors by Facebook when dealing with specific age groups.
  5. Figures provided by Facebook are estimates. Some inaccuracies are to be expected.
  6. Facebook users residing in Malaysia are not necessarily Malaysian citizens.
  7. Interest in a topic is equal to the number of users expressing interest in a topic.
    1. To measure interest we used a combination of Facebook Topics (a collection of interests, activities, groups, pages, status updates and job history identified by a common term determined by Facebook e.g. ‘United Malays National Organization’) and specific Group and Page names (e.g. Friends of BN).
    2. These are used to collect the number of users interested in a given party/coalition/politician/group. For example, a user mentioning a party name in a status update; sharing a news link related to the party or sharing content from a party-affiliated page would count towards the total interest in that party
    3. Interest in a political party does not indicate support for the party, only awareness
  8. Audience refers to the population of users that express interest in a topic.
  9. Based on our research to date, Pages that are of type ‘politician’ are not always included under related Facebook Topics. For example, not all ‘Tony Pua’ (MP, PJ Utara, DAP) Page likes are included under interest in ‘DAP’. However because Facebook does not make Topic details available we cannot easily determine which politicians, if any, were included.
  10. Statistics on the Opposition primarily refer to component parties of the former Pakatan Rakyat – PKR, PAS and DAP. Interest in PSM is included in total statistics for the Opposition, but is not listed separately due to its small audience.

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Written by politweet

October 8, 2015 at 4:39 am

Posted in Census, Statistics

Tagged with , , , , ,

Twitter Statistics and Crowd Measurement of the Bersih 4 Rally

1. Background

On July 29th Bersih 2.0 announced that a rally entitlted ‘Bersih 4’ would be held on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu from August 29th, 2pm to August 30th. The demands of the rally are for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down and the following institutional reforms to be implemented:

  1. Clean Elections
  2. Clean Governments
  3. Saving Malaysia’s Economy
  4. Right to Dissent
  5. Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy (added on August 14th)

On August 14th Bersih released a statement adding a demand for a transitional government to be formed after Najib’s resignation. This government would need to implement 10 institutional reforms within the next 18 months to ensure the next General Election would be conducted in a clean, free and fair manner:

  1. Reform of electoral system and process
  2. Reform of the Election Commission (EC)
  3. Separation of Prime Minister and Finance Minister
  4. Parliamentary Reform
  5. Separation of the functions of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution
  6. Reform of the MACC
  7. Freedom of Information laws
  8. Asset declaration by Ministers and senior state officials
  9. Abolishment of/Amendment to draconian laws
  10. Establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

On August 27th Opposition MPs from PKR, DAP and GHB released a joint statement declaring they would work with BN MPs to form a new government provided that Anwar Ibrahim and other prisoners of conscience be released; and political reforms be the core agenda of the new government.

2. Twitter Statistics

All statistics referring to tweets include retweets unless otherwise stated.

2.1 Basic Stats

111,879 users made 583,338 tweets about Bersih from July 28th – August 30th 2015.

96,890 users made 446,967 tweets about Bersih during the rally period (August 29th – August 30th 2015). In other words, 86.6% of the total users and 76.6% of total tweets were made during the rally.

The chart below shows a comparison in the number of users tweeting about the Bersih 2 (July 2011), Bersih 3 (April 2012) and Bersih 4 (August 2015) rallies in the days leading up to the event.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by politweet

September 2, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Analysis of Support for Bersih 4 by Twitter Users in Malaysia

1. Background

On July 29th Bersih 2.0 announced that a rally entitled ‘Bersih 4’ would be held on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu from August 29th, 2pm to August 30th. The demands of the rally are for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down and the following institutional reforms to be implemented:

  1. Clean Elections
  2. Clean Governments
  3. Saving Malaysia’s Economy
  4. Right to Dissent
  5. Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy (added on August 14th)

On August 14th Bersih released a statement adding a demand for a transitional government to be formed after Najib’s resignation. This government would need to implement 10 institutional reforms within the next 18 months to ensure the next General Election would be conducted in a clean, free and fair manner:

  1. Reform of electoral system and process
  2. Reform of the Election Commission (EC)
  3. Separation of Prime Minister and Finance Minister
  4. Parliamentary Reform
  5. Separation of the functions of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution
  6. Reform of the MACC
  7. Freedom of Information laws
  8. Asset declaration by Ministers and senior state officials
  9. Abolishment of/Amendment to draconian laws
  10. Establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

On August 27th Opposition MPs from PKR, DAP and GHB released a joint statement declaring they would work with BN MPs to form a new government provided that Anwar Ibrahim and other prisoners of conscience be released; and political reforms be the core agenda of the new government.

2. Our Analysis

We performed opinion-based analysis on 385 users based in Malaysia who tweeted about Bersih 4 and related terms from July 28th – August 25th 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.99%.

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 public support by Twitter users in Malaysia for the Bersih 4 rally taking place from August 29th – August 30th in Kuala Lumpur.

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

  1. Support
  2. Neutral
  3. Don’t Support

These were further divided into the following categories:

  1. Support
  2. Support (Najib must resign)
  3. Neutral
  4. Don’t Support (general)
  5. Don’t Support (apathy)

The results are shown in the following charts.

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Written by politweet

August 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm