Race for majority support still on, says social media observer

Politweet studies also show that people are losing interest in politics.

PETALING JAYA: It is still unclear whether Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Harapan (PH) will get more support in the 14th general election (GE14), says a group monitoring social media activities.

Politweet founder Ahmed Kamal Nava said voter turnout would be a crucial factor.

“If voter turnout is sufficiently high, then BN is still likely to be the winner based on historical voting trends and what people say on social media.

“It is important to remember that half of Malaysia’s Facebook and Twitter users are in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. In these two areas, they are more active when it comes to political issues.”

He said studies of Facebook and Twitter activities indicated no sign of growing support for PH in East Malaysia.

Any chance of PH winning control of the federal government would depend heavily on the coalition making inroads there, he added.

Ahmed said Politweet studies based on observations of Twitter and Facebook had also shown that people are losing interest in politics.

On Tuesday, Ahmed had told the Edge that this was due to the voters facing two “bad choices”: BN or PH.

He said statistically, most opposition parties had not been doing well on Facebook as they had spent the last few years trying to bring down Prime Minister Najib Razak or BN “while not working on improving their own reputation”.

According to the studies by the research organisation based on observations of patterns on social media, there are several reasons why people do not favour the opposition.

The naming of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as PH’s prime ministerial candidate, the opposition’s “populist policies” and an unstable coalition are among the grouses social media users have against PH.

Ahmed said among the common criticisms made by people aged 40 and below on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, were that DAP was anti-Islam due to its position on hudud and that the party was the dominant partner in PH.

He said for PKR, apart from the party’s obsession with making Anwar Ibrahim the prime minister, it also had a track record of “mistakes” such as the “Kajang Move”, a local politician’s Disneyland bungalow scandal and the ongoing water supply issues in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

For PAS meanwhile, it was its obsession with Islam.

“Criticism also involves PH’s populist policies and issues in Penang, especially landslides, hill-top clearing and over-development,” he told FMT.

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