It is an uncommon phenomenon to witness politicians from opposing sides coming together for a common cause.
On October 6, thousands of Malaysians including university students, academicians and Malay leaders of the country gathered under one roof for the Malay Dignity Congress, which was held at Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam.
Subsequently, the congress became a trending topic on Twitter. On the peak day (October 6), the network of “Malay Dignity” can be clustered into five different groups – orange, pink, purple, yellow and green.
The biggest cluster was the green group which took up 32.68% of the network. The influencers in this cluster consist of leaders from opposing parties, Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (@abdulhadiawang).
Both accounts proudly tweeted about the event. Based on the cluster, the number of nodes connecting the two accounts was much lesser than the number of nodes surrounding one of the influencers. This indicate that there weren’t many Twitter users who reacted to both politicians’ Twitter accounts.
Taking up 26.67% of the “Malay Dignity” network, the purple group was the second biggest cluster. However, it was more segregated when compared with the other clusters.
This cluster discussed on whether the Malays were the ones to be held responsible for destroying their own dignity with their narrow-minded views and outdated mentality.
One of the influencers in this cluster was Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad (@KhalidSamad). He retweeted a news article by Free Malaysia Today titled ‘Malaysia belongs to Malays, Shah Alam congress warns ahead of Dr M speech’.
Meanwhile, the orange cluster was dominated by the Twitter account of Astro Awani (@501Awani). Hashtags ‘#awani745’ and ‘#awaninews’ were used by the Twitter users in this cluster.
One of the tweets made by Awani was about the opening speech by the Malay Dignity Congress chief organizer Zainal Kling.
Then, Zainal made a controversial remark, “Malaysia belongs to Malays”. He further voiced his opinion, stating that those who oppose the Malay-Muslim rights should have their citizenship suspended.
Ironically, several attendees of the Malay Dignity Congress suffered from food poisoning for eating nasi lemak, which is a traditional Malay cuisine. It was reported that the nasi lemak were contaminated.
This news was widely discussed in the yellow cluster with Harian Metro (@hmetromy) as its main influencer.
On the other hand, the pink cluster talked about PKR’s absence during the event. Some said that only Malay-based parties were invited to the congress and PKR is not one of them.
This led to another question because PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was one of the VIPs in the congress. Whereas, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was nowhere to be seen.
Over all, Twitter users were divided on the Malay Dignity Congress which aims to unite the Malays.