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How Political Interest is Divided by Language on Facebook in Malaysia (July 2017)

1. Introduction

This document provides a measurement of the political party interests of Facebook users in Malaysia. This is based on public information collected from Facebook.

Some important notes to remember when interpreting Facebook 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 always add up to the total. This may be due to Facebook users not sharing their gender, and also due to rounding errors in statistics provided by Facebook. State breakdown figures also do not add up to the total due to the same rounding errors.
  5. Detailed statistics on Putrajaya are not available due to the small number of users in the territory.
  6. Figures provided by Facebook are estimates. Some inaccuracies are to be expected, e.g. the sum of state totals not being equal to the national total.
  7. Facebook users residing in Malaysia are not necessarily Malaysian citizens.
  8. 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 Interests (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
    4. It is currently assumed that interest in PAS includes some interest in AMANAH as PAS leaders and members migrated to AMANAH
  9. Audience refers to the population of users that express interest in a topic. Unless indicated, the audiences used in this report are composed of potential voters (users in Malaysia aged 21 years and above).
  10. 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.
  11. Statistics on the Opposition primarily refer to component parties of the former Pakatan Rakyat – PKR, PAS and DAP. This includes the ‘Pakatan’ brand name.
  12. July 2017 statistics were collected during a 2-week period in July 2017. As such there may be some differences in totals for political parties when comparing different sections due to changes in collected statistics.
  13. Statistics on the 2017 1st Quarter electoral roll are estimates based on published changes to the 2016 gazetted roll. Ethnic breakdown for new voters are based on profiling methods that we developed and should be considered estimates.

2. List of Acronyms

The following table shows a list of acronyms used in this document.

Acronym Full name
PR Pakatan Rakyat
PH Pakatan Harapan
BN Barisan Nasional
UMNO United Malays National Organisation
GERAKAN Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (also known as PGRM)
MCA Malaysian Chinese Association
MIC Malaysian Indian Congress
PBB Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu Sarawak
PKR Parti Keadilan Rakyat
DAP Democratic Action Party
AMANAH Parti Amanah Negara
PAS Parti Islam Se-Malaysia
PPBM Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia

3. An Overview of Malaysia’s Facebook User Population (July 2017)

3.1 Division by Age and Gender

There are currently 24 million Facebook users in Malaysia. 54.17% are men and 45.83% are women.

From this total, 19 million users are aged 21 years and above. 52.63% are men and 47.37% are women. These are the potential voters on Facebook.

The chart below shows the population distribution by age group. The largest segment of the population is aged between 21 – 30 years.

wp_langdivide_chart1

The table below shows the distribution of Facebook users by state, sorted by the total population:

State Total
(13+ yrs)
Male (%) Female (%) % of Malaysia
Perlis 40,000 52.50 47.50 0.17
Labuan 170,000 52.35 46.47 0.71
Kelantan 290,000 51.72 44.83 1.21
Terengganu 370,000 51.35 48.65 1.54
Negeri Sembilan 380,000 55.26 47.37 1.58
Melaka 390,000 53.85 46.15 1.63
Pahang 500,000 54.00 48.00 2.08
Kedah 610,000 54.10 47.54 2.54
Perak 880,000 51.14 48.86 3.67
Penang 990,000 51.52 48.48 4.13
Sabah 1,000,000 53.00 47.00 4.17
Sarawak 1,100,000 51.82 45.45 4.58
Johor 1,900,000 57.89 45.79 7.92
KL + Selangor 15,000,000 56.67 42.67 62.50

 

The table below shows the distribution of Facebook users by state aged 21 years and above.

State Total (>=21 yrs) Male (%) Female (%) % of Msia (>=21 yrs) % of State (>=21 yrs)
Perlis 33,000 51.52 48.48 0.17 82.50
Labuan 140,000 52.14 45.71 0.74 82.35
Kelantan 230,000 52.17 43.48 1.21 79.31
Terengganu 290,000 51.72 48.28 1.53 78.38
Negeri Sembilan 310,000 54.84 48.39 1.63 81.58
Melaka 320,000 53.13 46.88 1.68 82.05
Pahang 400,000 55.00 47.50 2.11 80.00
Kedah 490,000 53.06 46.94 2.58 80.33
Perak 710,000 50.70 47.89 3.74 80.68
Sabah 790,000 53.16 46.84 4.16 79.00
Penang 840,000 50.00 47.62 4.42 84.85
Sarawak 840,000 53.57 46.43 4.42 76.36
Johor 1,600,000 55.00 45.00 8.42 84.21
KL + Selangor 12,000,000 56.67 44.17 63.16 80.00

 

Based on the last column we can see that Sarawak, Terengganu, Kelantan and Sabah have the highest proportion of young users (below 21 years).

As of 2017 Quarter 1, an estimated 21.64% of registered voters reside in KL and Selangor. In the National Census 2010, 24.35% of Malaysia’s citizens and 24.11% of Malaysia’s total population reside in KL and Selangor.

However according to statistics from Facebook, 62.50% of Facebook users in Malaysia reside in KL and Selangor. This includes Malaysians and foreigners who live there. This is an increase from 50% in August 2016.

The heavy concentration of users in KL and Selangor means that trending content in Malaysia in terms of shares and likes might not reflect what the country is talking about. When it comes to the analysis of interest in local issues such as politics, it is therefore important to evaluate the interests of users in different states.

3.2 Division by Language

The chart below shows the number of potential voters by language used on Facebook, based on information they have shared with Facebook:

wp_langdivide_chart2

Hindi/Tamil = users who use Hindi or Tamil. Only 20 thousand users use both languages

If we added the totals together there would be 30 million users. Given that there are only 19 million Facebook users, there is an overlap between users from each group. Many users speak multiple languages.

93% of potential voters on Facebook use English, Malay or Chinese languages. Because of this high coverage, we were able to design a set of formulas to break up these users into smaller, identifiable groups based on different combinations of spoken languages. The population of users in these groups can then be estimated. The results of this analysis are in the table below:

Language Group Code % of Population (>=21 years) Description
Bilingual Malay + English BME 40.26 Users who speak Malay and English. May also speak other languages except Chinese.
English Only / English + Other languages EO 19.21 Users who speak English but do not speak Malay or Chinese. May also speak other languages.
Malay Only / Malay + Other languages MO 13.95 Users who speak Malay but do not speak English or Chinese. May also speak other languages.
Bilingual Chinese + English BCE 12.37 Users who speak both Chinese and English. May also speak other languages except Malay.
Other Languages Only OTH 7.11 Users who do not speak English, Malay or Chinese
Chinese Only / Chinese + Other languages CO 3.42 Users who speak Chinese but do not speak English or Malay. May also speak other languages.
Bilingual Malay + Chinese BMC 1.84 Users who speak both Malay and Chinese. May also speak other languages except English.
Trilingual Malay + English + Chinese TRI 1.84 Users who speak English, Malay and Chinese. May also speak other languages.

 

The proportion of each group is summarised in the chart below.

wp_langdivide_chart3

From the chart we can observe that:

  • The Bilingual Malay + English (BME) group is both the largest group of users and largest subset of Malay speakers in the country
  • Most Malay speakers on Facebook understand English
  • The Bilingual Chinese + English (BCE) group is the 4th largest group of users and largest subset of Chinese speakers in the country
  • Most Chinese speakers on Facebook understand English
  • A minority of users (3.68%, 700 thousand) speak combinations of Malay and Chinese

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Written by politweet

October 11, 2017 at 1:11 pm

The Impact of Redelineation On The Selangor State Elections

1. Introduction

On September 15th 2016 the Election Commission of Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya Malaysia) published the proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries for State and Federal constituencies. Under this proposal:

  • No new Federal constituencies would be created
  • 13 new State constituencies would be created in Sabah
  • No new State constituencies would be created in states other than Sabah
  • 12 Federal constituencies would be renamed
  • 36 State constituencies would be renamed

This report provides an overview of the impact of state constituency redelineation on the Selangor State elections. Analysis was performed based on the 2016 1st Quarter (Q1) electoral roll (before and after redelineation), State and Federal seat results from the 13th General Election (GE13) and individual historical voting patterns from GE12 (2008) and GE13 (2013).

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Written by politweet

November 9, 2016 at 2:58 am

Analysing Pakatan Rakyat’s Performance with Malay Voters in Peninsular Malaysia (GE13)

1. Background

Prior to the 13th General Election (GE13) we came up with a methodology of predicting election results based on voting patterns in previous elections (reference).

Our method relied on mapping polling lane results to individual voters. This process assigned probability values (chance of turnout; chance of voting for each coalition) to the voter that was not affected if they migrated to another constituency. This is important because between GE12 and GE13 527,849 voters migrated to different constituencies.

The impact of voter migration cannot be measured for a single seat just by comparing results of GE12 and GE13 for that seat. An analysis of the whole country needs to be performed. New voter registrations, voters passing away and voters no longer eligible to vote are other factors that require deep analysis.

After GE13 we were able to apply the same estimation method to voters based on GE13 results. By comparing the shift in probabilities we are able to calculate the swing in support for each coalition. Because we base our calculations on individual voters, we are able to calculate shifts in support based on combinations of the following dimensions:

  • By Age
  • By Race
  • By Gender
  • By Urban Development Category (rural / semi-urban / urban)
  • By Parliament/State Assembly Seat
  • By Polling District
  • By Locality
  • By Seats Won by Specific Parties

Any voter whose level of support cannot be determined is assigned a probability of 50% and categorised as a fence-sitter. The most reliable metric is age because voters are separated into polling lanes based on age. Additionally we have also categorised the 222 Parliament constituencies as rural, semi-urban or urban based on satellite imagery (reference). The descriptions of each category are:

Rural = villages (kampungs) / small towns / farmland distributed within the seat. Rural seats tend to be physically large with a low population.

Semi-urban = larger towns and/or numerous small towns, may include villages as well

Urban = cities where a majority of the seat is covered by some form of urban development

For this report we will focus on how Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) performed with regular Malay voters (pengundi biasa) in Peninsular Malaysia. 184 of the total 222 Parliament seats are in Peninsular Malaysia, where most of the Malay electorate is concentrated.

Elections are won based on the number of seats. However our analysis will mainly be on the Malay electorate treated as a set of voters ignoring constituency boundaries. We will examine this at the state-level and for Peninsular Malaysia. This will allow us to see patterns that are not obvious at the seat-level.

Postal and early voters are not part of this analysis. They need to be analysed separately due to their different voting process and difficulties in campaigning to both groups.

Please remember that unless otherwise stated, all statistics in this analysis refer to regular voters in Peninsular Malaysia only.

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Written by politweet

July 27, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Analyses

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Top Social Media Content From #PRKTelukIntan, Polling Day

During the recent by-election in P76.Teluk Intan we have been collecting data from both Facebook and Twitter. Keywords based on the campaign and name of the candidates Dyana Sofya (PR/DAP) and Mah Siew Keong (BN/GERAKAN) were used.

Mah Siew Keong won the seat with a majority of 238 votes.

The following social media statistics and most-shared posts/tweets are based on what was posted on May 31st 2014 (polling day). Please note that for Facebook we are limited to only public posts, and only a daily sample of what was shared. For Twitter we work with a live stream of data, so there is no sampling issue there.

This post covers both Facebook and Twitter content.

Please read our other #PRKTelukIntan posts for more information:

Top Twitter Content From #PRKTelukIntan, Final Campaign Day

Top Facebook Media and Stats From #PRKTelukIntan, Week 2

Top Twitter Content About Mah Siew Keong, #PRKTelukIntan

Top Twitter Content About Dyana Sofya, #PRKTelukIntan

Top Facebook Media and Stats from #PRKTelukIntan, Week 1

Teluk Intan Social Media Stats


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Top Twitter Content From #PRKTelukIntan, Final Campaign Day

The following is a list of the most shared photos and tweets on Twitter mentioning Dyana Sofya (the DAP candidate) and Mah Siew Keong (the GERAKAN candidate) for the by-election in Teluk Intan. Content was taken from the final day of campaigning on May 30th. Polling day is today on May 31st.

These images should give an idea of what messages and events were popular with users on Twitter. We did not include event announcements (banner images) in this sample.

Media ranking was done by the number of users sharing the URL of the photo, not the number of retweets received. Mention ranking was done by the number of users sharing the retweeted text of the original tweet. This is due to users’ common practice of manually retweeting tweets by a ‘copy and paste’ method.

Dyana Sofya held a ceramah in Teluk Intan on the night of the last day. We estimated 14,000 – 22,000 people attended the event.
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Top Facebook Media and Stats From #PRKTelukIntan, Week 2

During the current by-election in P76.Teluk Intan we have been collecting data from both Facebook and Twitter. Keywords based on the campaign and name of the candidates Dyana Sofya (PR/DAP) and Mah Siew Keong (BN/GERAKAN) were used.

The following Facebook statistics and most-shared posts are based on the second week of the campaign, May 27th – May 30th (morning). Please note that we are limited to only public posts, and only a daily sample of what was shared.

From our previous analysis (read here) it is clear that social media usage will not have a big impact on the by-election results. Popularity on Facebook or Twitter are not going to be an indication of which party wins.

However it is an indication of what campaign messages received the most traction with users online, and this analysis can help future campaigners on a national level.

Please read our Teluk Intan GE13 Analysis for an idea of PR and BN’s odds in this by-election.
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Top Twitter Content About Mah Siew Keong, #PRKTelukIntan

The following is a list of the most shared photos and tweets on Twitter mentioning Mah Siew Keong, the GERAKAN candidate for the by-election in Teluk Intan. Polling day is tomorrow on May 31st.

These images should give an idea of what messages and events were popular with users on Twitter. We did not include event announcements (banner images) in this sample.

Media ranking was done by the number of users sharing the URL of the photo, not the number of retweets received. Mention ranking was done by the number of users sharing the retweeted text of the original tweet. This is due to users’ common practice of manually retweeting tweets by a ‘copy and paste’ method.

We have divided the content into 2 periods:

  • Week 1 (May 19th – May 25th)
  • Week 2 (May 26th – early morning on May 30th)

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