We all know Selangor state in Malaysia is having a severe political crisis after its Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), Tan Sri Abdul Khalid, was sacked from his party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). But do you really know what’s happening after more than 10 days seeing the issue hit the headlines in major media? Well, if you are confused on what’s happening and what’s actually kicked start the “drama”, do not worry much, apparently you are not alone here.
According to an opinion-based sentiment analysis carried out by PoliTweet on 2,062 Twitter users, 988 users tweeted that they have no opinion on the recent crisis in Selangor. The analysis also found that the 48 per cent of the users surveyed were confused about what triggered the political crisis in Selangor, with many shooting questions, hoping to understand the crisis better via Twitter. Apart from making jokes on the crisis, these users also wanted it to end as soon as possible.
For those who do not know what’s happening in Selangor: the political crisis in the state started on August 9, when Tan Sri Khalid was accused of being involved in corruption, and sacked by his party. According to a post by The Establishment Post, PKR de facto leader, Anwar, has been trying to get the Menteri Besar to step down since January so that the post can be handed to his wife, Dr Wan Azizah.
Despite the dramatic sacking of the Chief Minister, the Sultan of Selangor gave Tan Sri Khalid his royal consent to continue his term as the Menteri Besar of Selangor. This led Tan Sri Khalid to sack five of the 10 executive councilors who had openly denied him as the chief minister.
Thanks to PoliTweet, a non-partisan research firm analyzing interactions among Malaysians using social media, we can now see what the people are saying. The firm has been monitoring politics and activism on Twitter since 2009 and expanded to include Facebook since December 2012. The recent analysis that was published on PoliTweet’s Facebook page is based on tweets collected since the crisis began. The sample was randomly selected and tweets from spammers, news agencies, and accounts with automated tweets were not taking into consideration.
PoliTweet divided the findings into seven different categories which include:
- Keep Tan Sri Khalid (445 users, making up 22% of ‘tweeters’)
- Remove Tan Sri Khalid (209 users),
- No Opinion (988 users),
- Mixed – Not Supportive of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) (206 users),
- Mixed – Not supportive of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail / Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (115 users),
- Mixed – Not happy with all parties / the crisis (65 users), and
- Mixed – call for State Election (34 users)
“Our goal initially was to gauge public opinion primarily on whether to keep or remove Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. However mixed opinions emerged that allowed us to gauge responses to other parties involved PR, Wan Azizah and Anwar Ibrahim,” PoliTweet wrote on its Facebook page.
Other users surveyed that were not among the seven categories mainly tweeted about the State Executive Councilors. While many expressed support towards Khalid’s move to sack five of the state exco members, many had criticised the dismissal as unlawful.
The analysis concluded that the public perceive the current Selangor Menteri Besar as a well-respected representative and the reasons given by PKR to sack him were not well explained which have resulted PR (primarily PKR) to be widely criticised on the social networks.
Also, PoliTweet added that based on the users’ opinions, the crisis should be resolved as soon as possible to undo some of the damage that has been done or give sufficient proof that either the allegations against Tan Sri Khalid is true or that the new Menteri Besar is better than the former.