Malaysia is facing its first-ever hung parliament in this General Election. According to The Star, Pakatan Harapan (PH) won 81 seats making it the biggest while Perikatan Nasional (PN) came in second with 73 seats. Incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN), on the other hand, only won 30 seats, with big names including finance minister Tengku Zafrul, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, and minister of international trade and industry Azmin Ali being booted out of their seats. Former PM Mahathir Mohamed also lost his seat in Langkawi.
The voting age for this year's election was also lowered to 18 years old, drawing many from the younger generation to the polls. Politicians also turned to TikTok during their campaigning to win their hearts. Since the election on 19 November, social media has been abuzz with chatter surrounding the results and which party will win. Ever since news of a hung parliament broke, discussions also formed online about which parties are likely to team up to form the government.
According to statistics from Truescope, the total number of likes, shares and comments of GE15 content in Malaysian media amounted to more than a million, with more than 25 million potential engagements over the weekend. Truescope Singapore's commercial director Kelvin Koh said media topics were centred around three key areas:
1. GE15 results updates (600k engagements) with the media and netizens updating their socials through every step of the ballot counting;
2. PN/PAS confident about forming the government (50k engagements), mostly coming from PH supporters updating and sharing progress on the GE15 result; and
3. Urging Malaysians to vote (35k engagements), resulting from posts of the “inked finger” and “saya sudah”.
From the over 5,000 unique social media posts gathered by Truescope over the weekend, Malaysia news media were kept busy with the bulk of social media conversations being attributed from their social media pages and Sinar Harian coming out on top, followed by Utusan Online. Of note, Utusan Online’s Facebook page carried 363 unique articles on GE15 over the weekend alone, Truescope said.
The live stream from Berita Harian covering PN's chairman Muhyiddin Yassin’s press statement where he announced that he had obtained the support of Sarawak’s GPS and Sabah’s GRS to form the next government, gathered the highest traction of all posts over the weekend, with over 24k engagements and 1.2 million views.
At the same time, BN, PN and PH were the top three parties that led in media mentions. Meanwhile, Anwar Ibrahim led the media mentions for politicians, and interestingly, Singapore was mentioned multiple times in Malaysia’s elections news, even more so than various electoral states such as Sarawak and Sabah.
At the same time, netizen conversations revolved around flooding at polling stations in Sarawak and blackouts. Melanie Nambiar, insights manager at Truescope Singapore (a dataxet partner company), told A+M that netizens discussed the blackouts happening at Gombak and trolled PN's Azmin Ali for trying to “play dirty” after losing to PH.
Electoral states and political parties were the most commonly mentioned phrases over the weekend, with “hung parliament” coming out strongly on Sunday as the most negative topic.
Trending content around politicians centred around Puchong candidate Yeo Bee Yin and Segambut candidate Hannah Yeoh, who are both from PH, taking to Twitter with allegations that the election commission’s presiding officers were holding up the results. Additionally, netizens engaged with content regarding Nurul Izzah Anwar’s shock loss to PAS, as well as Khairy's narrow loss to PH.
Separately, Star Media Group also urged everyone to stop circulating a 10-year-old image to prevent misunderstanding. The image had the headline "Hadi ready to be PM" alongside a picture of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's president Abdul Hadi bin Awang. The company clarified that the image was from the front page of 19 November 2012 ahead of the 13th General Election on 5 May 2013, refuting claims that it was on the front page of its Sunday edition on 20 November 2022.
Star Media Group added that the 10-year-old image being circulated "does not portray current events in any way" and asked everyone to stop sharing the image to "avoid any misunderstanding or cause confusion among the public". PAS, which is one of the parties within PN, won the most seats at 49. This was followed by the Democratic Action Party from the PH coalition with 40 seats.
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