GE14 Election Social Listening

What Were Netizens Talking About Before & After GE14?

GE14 Election Social Listening

This article was written with data from Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool.

Less than 90 days into the new change of government, we take a look back at the mentions and conversations surrounding the three major political parties that fought it out for GE14.

Comparing UMNO, Pakatan Harapan, and PAS, we used social listening tool Oracle to survey what people were thinking and talking about one month before the election and one month after the election.

1 month before Election Day (April 8, 2018 – May 8, 2018)

UMNO leads share of voice by 1% more than Pakatan Harapan. For all parties, Facebook was a major source of mentions after news publications.

share of voice

Conversation themes

The top party hashtag was PKR’s #KitaMestiMenang, in no small part due to a viral tweet praising Nik Omar on May 4th, one day after his speech touting values of respect and the secular vote.

Other trending topical hashtags in the run-up to the elections included #KamiGengNajibRazak, #ZahidHamidi, #AhmadMaslan, #Bajet2018, and #KepalaBapakKau. These represent Malaysians’ top concerns as well as some of the most memorable moments of the pre-election discourse. Controversial party personalities held the attention of netizens. The former PM’s public remark, “Kepala bapak kau”, made in response to concerns regarding Malaysia’s close economic ties with China, has entered the social lexicon as a humorous reference and slang du jour. These hashtags were used both in support of and against the party concerned.

 top hashtags (pre)

Among the three parties, “Chinese” appears to stand out as the common shared term, indicating that the Chinese community was a central force for the elections in general, its associated issues becoming the divisive point between voter groups. This is consistent with the observation that the Malaysian Chinese have been one of the most vocal groups in the country’s politics, and also the most potent when wielded by the various parties and their supporters for their respective agendas.

Reflective of the same racial overtones, “Malay” appeared commonly in contexts such as “Malay tsunami”, suggesting also tectonic shifts within ethnic communities.

chinese (umno)


chinese (pkr)

Pakatan Harapan

chinese (pas)


Intent to switch between parties

Intent to switch is highest within PAS relative to their share of voice, followed by UMNO and Pakatan Harapan. For PAS and UMNO, the current tends toward switching out of those parties. In many of these conversations, we see the word “change” being used in conjunction, signalling a trending motive among GE14 voters to make the switch.



Pakatan Harapan

Pakatan Harapan




Close analysis of Pakatan Harapan’s voter sentiment reveals Harapan’s existing supporters urging people to vote for change, and some expressing switch-in sentiments.

The data is conclusive: the sentiment for change was the driving force for a swayed vote.

Source of conversations and mentions

Apart from traditional mainstream media including The Star and Malay Mail, the top source of noise was the independent blog, Malaysians Deserve To Know The Truth. Independent news publisher Free Malaysia Today and previously blocked Malaysia Chronicle ranked second and third.

top news sources (inc. news)

This points to independent sources as major information sources producing political content. Despite some censorship, Malaysian independent journalism still plays an important role in political newsmaking and, to a further end, influencing public opinion. In the case of Malaysia Chronicle, which was blocked under the previous regime, Malaysians circumnavigated the block (by adjusting DNS) and its high ranking despite censorship is proof of the resilience of local journalism.

1 month after Election Day (May 10, 2018 – June 9, 2018)

In the aftermath of the election, UMNO-related mentions generated the highest share of voice. Conversations were overwhelmingly dominated by UMNO and Pakatan Harapan, consistent with the marked power struggle between the two biggest parties. PAS took up a small minority of share of voice.

share of voice (post)

Trending themes

#KitaSudahReform was one of the top hashtags after a single tweet by Hannah Yeoh regarding Lim Guan Eng’s appointment as Finance Minister went viral.

top hashtags (post)

#Alert was also a trending hashtag as netizens spread the latest breaking news on various people and party movements that happened in the hours and days after the election. In association with #Alert tweets, the most used keywords were ‘resign’, ‘effective’, ‘immediately’, in reference to the former PM’s resignation from his party on May 12.

#alert hashtag

Content type and sources

The top content type for Pakatan Harapan was news while the majority of UMNO mentions took place on Facebook. Lowyat topped the list of sources for mentions, reflecting people’s urge to discuss the election aftermath.

top news sources (post)

Party loyalty

Listening in on loyalty sentiments, we witness an outpouring of love for the new PM, a new Malaysia, and to a lesser degree, for each political party. Even in instances where ‘love’ is mentioned in association with a party name, the focus is on the country and a new beginning and less directly on any particular political entity, showing that Malaysians have mostly chosen to focus on the bigger outcome rather than factionalism and party wars.

loyalty mentions (umno)


Pakatan Harapan

Pakatan Harapan




*This article was based on data availability from Oracle SRM and is by no means exhaustive.

Stay tuned for more of our insights from social listening. Our next series will be industry-specific, with coverage on FMCG, e-commerce, airline and freight industries.