1. Background

On July 28th 2015 a new Cabinet line-up was announced by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak (PM Najib).
Former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was absent from the new Cabinet. Zaid Hamidi replaced him for the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Mahdzir Khalid replaced him for the post of Minister of Education.

Muhyiddin being dropped from the Cabinet followed speculation that this would happen due to his remarks about 1MDB on Sunday, July 26th. He was reported to have asked for PM Najib to personally explain the 1MDB issue and answer the allegations by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (reference).

2. Current Findings

The response on Twitter was unexpected. Muhyiddin is not much talked-about on a regular basis, however following news of his removal there was a dramatic increase in tweets mentioning his name. This screenshot from Topsy shows that mentions of Muhyiddin following his removal were much higher than mentions of Najib when WSJ published their articles on July 3rd and July 7th.


Early analysis of user’s responses indicated it was mixed. In order of frequency (most common to least common) the opinions were:

  • majority were expressing surprise at Muhyiddin being replaced
  • many expressed disappointment, pity and sorrow
  • some expression of support for Muhyiddin
  • some criticism of Najib for being cowardly (similar to sentiment expressed on the #Nothing2Hide event where Najib didn’t show)
  • some speculation that Muhyiddin may join and strengthen PAS or Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB). PAS was mentioned more than GHB.
  • few were indifferent because they were expecting Muhyiddin to leave (so this was not news to them)
  • few expressed support for his departure

This listing of opinions will change once we have time to do a deeper analysis.

However from what we have observed so far, sacking Muhyiddin following his publicised comments on 1MDB made Najib look guilty and/or unreasonable. The effect was Muhyiddin being seen as a ‘champion of the people’ for pressuring Najib to explain the 1MDB issue to the public and answer the WSJ allegations (reference).

3. Scale of Importance on Twitter

3.1 Statistics and comparisons

In terms of scale, 72,837 users sent 201,969 tweets about Muhyiddin and related terms (his username and related hashtags) on July 28th. While not every mention of ‘Muhyiddin’ refers to the former Deputy Prime Minister, based on the volume and content we only expect a small percentage of tweets to be unrelated.

For comparison with recent events:

  • 52,538 users sent 140,866 tweets about Hudud from March 18th – 22nd when the Kelantan State Assembly passed the bill
  • 136,267 users sent 309,452 tweets about Lee Kuan Yew following news of his passing on March 23rd
  • 31,781 users sent 79,778 tweets about Anwar Ibrahim on February 10th, following his sentencing and incarceration in prison
  • 53,886 users sent 101,027 tweets about the floods in Kelantan on December 26th 2014

Mentions of Muhyiddin peaked at 916 tweets-per-minute (TPM) from 802 users at 2.39 pm.

When the WSJ article on Najib was released on July 3rd, mentions of Najib peaked at 152 TPM from 145 users at 3.15pm.

When Lee Kuan Yew passed away on March 23rd, TPM peaked at 770 TPM from 717 users at 4.52am.

This is the shape of the TPM graph on July 28th:


Dips in the graph were caused by some data loss as we made adjustments to the server to handle the load.

3.2 The scale of conversation

This network graph shows how Twitter users tweeting about Muhyiddin were connected. This includes all users on Twitter limited to those who retweeted or had conversations with each other. This helps visualise the scale of the conversation.


Each user is represented by a node (circle) that is coloured based on the number of their tweets that were retweeted and the number of tweets sent to them. The more attention they receive, the larger the node. Any node that retweets another node or tweets to another node is connected.

Nodes are positioned based on their connections to other nodes – strong connections pull them closer. Large nodes are considered influential within the network. We have coloured the nodes based on a scale of blue (least influential) to green; yellow; orange; red; and purple (most influential).

Due to the scale of the graph, we can only show names from the top 602 most influential users as seen below:


There are 69,907 users with 172,262 connections within the unfiltered graph. The most popular users were:

  1. hafizrayyan
  2. matluthfi90
  3. santaidansampah
  4. gengbebel
  5. 501awani
  6. khairilanuar
  7. faizfazil
  8. rizalzulkapli
  9. abdmalekhussin
  10. typicalmsian
  11. snajua
  12. azmaredzal
  13. najibrazak
  14. akmaleya
  15. ayeemjemain
  16. _hakimrahim
  17. muhyiddinyassin
  18. staronline
  19. hermyrahim
  20. farhanaafdzli
  21. bernamadotcom
  22. rosezaaa
  23. bharianmy
  24. izizree
  25. pipiyapong
  26. khabirm
  27. azwanhjall
  28. fabulistjiwa
  29. iapplemustache
  30. syedattan
  31. amirfyrdaus
  32. adrianlimcheeen
  33. jack_vladamir
  34. beellasalim
  35. syaznieafham
  36. hmetromy
  37. amiey_halim
  38. longfaiz
  39. _ahmadboii
  40. nsrqnzm
  41. izzmunir
  42. mazfarsyah
  43. ainghafar
  44. themmailonline
  45. raishussin
  46. zulhafizz
  47. iloveyouipoh
  48. peciklpt
  49. justintwj
  50. iamdaghiel
  51. azrindrahim
  52. jangankolot
  53. meigeni_darling
  54. dranwarfazal
  55. pakguardum
  56. dubookpress
  57. chaa_iskandar
  58. norman__g
  59. annazrulan
  60. ijaicool
  61. arafmohamad
  62. amubaidahs
  63. hajarabdjalal
  64. diazwann
  65. mynationdotcom
  66. malaysiakini
  67. hannahyeoh
  68. twt_larkin
  69. trmzzy96
  70. aliffashraff
  71. haiqalyahayah
  72. terfaktab
  73. lucaspeebo
  74. mdamirrul
  75. mutalibuthman
  76. buletintv3
  77. aidasue
  78. jubahturqouise
  79. arlinabanana
  80. kitabangsajohor
  81. muaz_san
  82. fifirimau
  83. masidim
  84. twtlols
  85. sinaronline
  86. nuyulhuda
  87. tweetuniversiti
  88. abdhakimrahman
  89. sukanstar
  90. haziqhamzah434
  91. bbcnewsasia
  92. mohdilham_
  93. nabil_jahrol97
  94. twt_penmerah
  95. l3ai
  96. harythilmy
  97. syizot
  98. bobcintarasul
  99. khairiianuar
  100. azyshm
Published On: July 30th, 2015 / Categories: Analyses / Tags: , , , , , /