Social media and the Malaysian election

Social media and the Malaysian election

Last week Sam and I braved the Ramadan traffic and attended “The Reality of Social Media in the Last Election & How it can Affect your Business”, an event jointly organised by the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) and the Engineers Australia Malaysia Chapter (EAMC) with two panellists, YenLoong Chau – Marketing Director, TechRad Sdn Bhd and Gerard Ratnam – Producer, Bernama TV with Bobby Varanasi as the moderator.

YenLoong, a lawyer by profession, shared findings from data gathering done during the 14th General Election (GE14) in Malaysia.  The data was collected between the 1st Jan and 8th May 2018; the following day Pakatan Harapan upset Barisan Nasional (BN) after 60 years in power! Interestingly the former PM Najib said that social media would be the key factor in winning the GE14 and indeed it was.

Some of the findings:


Page types
English/Malay Community – 57% on Twitter; 21% on Traditional Media and 17% on Facebook
Chinese – 8% on Twitter, 31% on Traditional Media and 61% Facebook

So we can see that Twitter would be the most effective medium for the English/Malay community but to reach the Chinese community Facebook would be more effective. Interestingly #pulangmengundi (go home to vote) was a tag used by a Malaysian living in Singapore who just tweeted “let’s go home to vote”, it quickly became viral and was put to full use to encourage Malaysians from all over to come home to vote for change.

YenLoong also emphasized that FB, Twitter and YouTube would be the go-to platforms for businesses where content/product detail is shared and that we shouldn’t underestimate the power of social media.

So what then happens to traditional media?

Gerard answered that whilst advertising may be low, there’s balanced and fair reporting with regards to the change in government. Fake news may be rampant via social media and WhatsApp where people are quick to share without fact checking but traditional media ensures all stories are verified.

The pros and cons of both social and traditional media were shared by some of the audience and crowdfunding was also discussed, with reference to the call on all Malaysians to contribute toward the debt settlement for Malaysia which within a few hours had already reached RM7.7million.

After the panel concluded we were treated to a casual networking session with drinks and makan (food) where the conversation continued with attendees from all different industries.  A great networking session with good company at a good venue.

By Aileen Doraisamy, Regional Admin Manager – Salt, a global, award-winning digital recruitment agency in Asia

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