Before GE-14, former Umno President Najib Razak delayed the party leadership election so that it will be held after the general election. Some speculated that he postpones the internal election so that his presidency will not be contest. Thus, he will maintain his post as UMNO President and Malaysia Prime Minister if Barisan Nasional won.
However, Pakatan Harapan won GE-14 and become the new Malaysia government. On the other hand, UMNO along with its coalition Barisan Nasional suffered a big loss. Najib managed to defend his Pekan MP seat but stepped down as UMNO President. Naturally, then Deputy President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi became the party acting President.
UMNO leadership election is sensational on the media because the party is going through a tough time and the determination of the party head will affect its future. The top three candidates for the President post are Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. The party internal election will be set on the 29th of June 2018.
On June 22, the poll for UMNO wings positions was held. Therefore, the trend of UMNO election kickstarted on Twitter a day earlier. It peaked on June 24, when the winner of Youth, Wanita and Puteri chief was revealed. Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad and Datuk Zahida Zarik Khan won the positions respectively. As we can see from the type of tweet regarding the topic, 70.3% of them were retweets, while 17.7% of them are original tweets.
The UMNO Election Twitter network was divided into two. The first group linked the newly appointed Youth, Wanita and Puteri chiefs with which presidential candidates they are aligned with. The second group discussed on UMNO as a whole, whether it will still stand as strong party or not.
The most frequently used hashtag for UMNO Election 2018 are #BN, #PemilihanUMNO2018. Those are generic hashtag because they did not show which candidate that they are supporting. There are #KJ4President and #IniMasanya with the total of 147 times and 80 times accordingly. Ahmad Zahid and Tengku Razaliegh supporters did not came with any hashtag to identify themselves.
The most mentioned account related to “UMNO Elections 2018” is @PemilihanUMNO18, which is the official account for UMNO Election 2018. @Khairykj became third mentioned user after @drasyrafwajdi. @Khairykj is official account of Khairy Jamaluddin who is one of the candidates for UMNO President, while @drasyrafwajdi is the official account for the newly appointed UMNO Youth chief.
Meanwhile, pro-Pakatan Harapan politicians Syed Saddiq and Rafizi Ramli were also mentioned. The youth compared KJ with those two politicians as they believed Khairy will reform UMNO.
Khairy Jamaluddin has an upper hand in the social media world. He is younger and much more tech-savvy compared to Ahmad Zahid and Tengku Razaleigh. Thus, Khairy is much more active on Twitter which led to him to recruit and influence more supporters through Twitter. Will this perk of his help him for the upcoming UMNO Election 2018?