Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People’s Uprising Rally / #KL112) was a protest rally held at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur on January 12th, 2012. It was organised by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and various NGOs.
At its peak the crowd is estimated to have been between 63,976 – 78,193 people. For details on how this figure was calculated please read this post.
The purpose of this report is to show:
- Where Twitter users in Malaysia are concentrated
- How many of them tweeted about the event
- Where positive / neutral / negative sentiment was concentrated
- Which areas were devoid of users tweeting about the event
We collected 103,343 tweets from 25,901 users tweeting about the event. A detailed analysis of that along with a comparison with Bersih 2 and Bersih 3 will come in a future report.
In addition to collecting tweets about the event, we also collected geo-located tweets from Malaysia. This was to show areas where Twitter users were concentrated, and visualise the percentage of them tweeting about the event. From our experience 5% -10% of Twitter users use geo-located tweets.
We ran an opinion-based sentiment analysis on users tweeting about the event, using the same methodology previously used on tweets regarding free education and the abolishment of PTPTN. The methodology is:
- All tweets from users tweeting about the event were examined in order, and the final opinion of the user was determined.
- Users are classified as being positive (supporting the rally), negative (opposing the rally) or neutral (no clear position, but did tweet about the event).
- Common opinions expressed by the majority and minority of users were noted.
- Areas/states were classified as mostly positive, mostly negative, mixed (positive, neutral and negative users in similar amounts), neutral-negative (neutral and negative users only), and neutral-positive (neutral and positive users only).
This map shows geo-located tweets from Malaysia on January 12th 2012.
There are 138,784 tweets from 22,916 users shown on this map. 791 users tweeted about the event. This is the sample used for sentiment analysis.
Click here to view the original-sized map at our Flickr page.
This map shows a close-up of Kuala Lumpur and part of Selangor. A non-annotated version is shown on the right as a reference.
Click here to view the original-sized map at our Flickr page.
- Twitter users are concentrated in urban areas
- Awareness of the event was widespread throughout the country, though some clusters of users did not tweet about it. There were no tweets about the event coming from Langkawi, Cukai, Temerloh, Teluk Intan, Cameron Highlands and Bandar Pusat Jengka.
- There were few tweets about the event coming from Penang Island and Kuching despite the high concentration of users.
- Only 3.5% of users in the country tweeted about the event
- Positive sentiment was higher in Perak, Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur
- Negative sentiment was higher in Johor, Kelang, Batu Caves and Ampang
- Sentiment was mixed in Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Penang, Melaka, Kedah, Kelantan and Sabah
- Sentiment was neutral-negative in Sarawak and Perlis
- Sentiment was neutral-positive in Terengganu
Total: 22,916 users
Within Kuala Lumpur & Selangor: 12,506 users (54.57%)
Outside Kuala Lumpur & Selangor: 10,410 (45.43%)
Tweeting about the event (sample): 791 users (3.5%)
Out of 791 users in the sample:
- 382 (48%) supported the rally
- 139 (18%) opposed the rally
- 270 (34%) had no opinion
Location of users:
- 575 (72.69%) within Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
- 216 (27.31%) outside Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
Positive opinions took the form of:
- “Glad to be there“
- “Excited to go“
- “Glad it was peaceful “
- Comments on the size of the crowd
- Talking about multi-racial atmosphere
- Talking about the cause of KL112
- Wanted to go but had other responsibilities
Negative opinions took the form of:
- Criticism of parents bringing children to the rally
- “People should be thankful/grateful for what you have in Malaysia”
- The rally inconvenienced shopping plans / work
- Criticism of street protests in general
- “Don’t see the point of having protest”
- “Have other things to do and/or don’t support the cause but please be safe”
- Not interested in politics
- Criticism of hard-core PR supporters attacking them for not going
- “Better to focus on studying for upcoming exam”
Parents Bringing Children
The issue of parents bringing children was notable for changing the opinion of neutral and positive users to negative. Supporters came out to defend the parents by saying:
- If parents don’t bring their children, who will take care of them?
- If kids are allowed at Barisan Nasional rallies, why not Pakatan Rakyat’s?
- There was no damage to public property so what’s wrong with bringing kids?
- Some users referred to the rally as ‘perhimpunan Bersih’ or ‘Bersih gathering’.
- Some users were not supportive of the rally (for their own reasons), but were supportive of the right to assembly. These users were classified as neutral or negative based on their tone.
- Many users offered prayers for safety for others and themselves
- The general theme was that the goal of the rally was about changing the government. None of the users spoke about specifics other than a few talking about increased oil royalties for oil-producing states.
Source of Sentiment
Support for the rally was higher from users within Kuala Lumpur & Selangor.
Kuala Lumpur & Selangor users
Positive: 310 (54%)
Neutral: 179 (31%)
Negative: 86 (15%)
Outside Kuala Lumpur & Selangor users
Positive: 72 (33%)
Neutral: 91 (42%)
Negative: 53 (25%)
Only 3.5% of users tweeting from Malaysia tweeted about the event. This is consistent with the results of our Facebook census, which showed a similarly low interest in politics from the population of users in Malaysia.
Sentiment analysis on topics in social media tends to be biased towards the opinions of those residing in Klang Valley. This is because:
- Based on the 2010 National Census, 25.19% of people in Malaysia live in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
- From our research to-date, 51% of Twitter users in Malaysia are located in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
- From our December 2012 census, 48% of Facebook users are located in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
For this event 72.69% of the sample users were located in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor, making the results heavily biased. Clearly the rally was of greater interest to users within Kuala Lumpur & Selangor compared to users in the rest of the country.
It would be incorrect to say that 48% of Malaysians supported the rally. The correct interpretation is 54% of users in Kuala Lumpur & Selangor supported the rally.
Outside Kuala Lumpur & Selangor the sample size is too small to accurately reflect state-level sentiment regarding support for the rally. The ratio of sentiment (icons) to users (blue dots) needs to be considered when evaluating the results. As more Malaysians join Twitter the results of this sentiment analysis approach will become more reflective of the population.
Twitter is a viable source of information for geo-located sentiment analysis, particularly constituencies located in state capitals. Something for political strategists to note from this report:
- Consider areas where Twitter users are concentrated but didn’t tweet about the event, or hardly tweeted (such as Kuching and Penang Island). These are areas where a user market exists but political awareness is low.
- Consider areas with neutral-negative, neutral-positive or only neutral sentiment. This indicates a user market exists, political awareness exists but there is a lack of the desired sentiment.