Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has become the acting president of UMNO after former president Najib Razak resigned from the position due to Barisan Nasional lost in GE-14. To officially become the party president, he need to win the post during UMNO Leadership Election which will be held on the 29th of June 2018.
In this case, he will be facing two prominent candidates Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh. On June 20, Tengku Razaleigh challenged both Zahid and Khairy for an open debate prior to the internal election.
In the Twittersphere, the keyword “Zahid” peaked with almost 1500 tweets on June 20. On other days, the average tweet on Zahid are within the 100 to 200 tweets range.
On the 20th, the keyword “Zahid” started to pick up after he was challenged by Ku Li for an open debate together with Khairy. However, Zahid declined saying that he is not interested on the very next day (June 21). On June 22, he changed his mind and agreed to join the debate. Nevertheless, his change of mind did not boost back his popularity on Twitter. On the following days, the keyword “Zahid” had gone back to it average amount of tweets.
The development of “Zahid” trend in Twitter was mostly done through retweet activities (47.1%) and original tweet (35.4%). This means, there are many influencers that contributed to this trend. Quote and reply activity is rarely done which means there is no two-way interaction process between accounts related to the issue.
Zahid had many supporters as the successor of Najib Razak. Hashtags, #KamiGengNajibRazak, #UMNO and #SiapaTibaiPMKamiTibaiBalik were used by the netizens to show their support towards Zahid. While, #KepalaBapakKau was used to attack Zahid. The unpleasant phrase was previously used by Najib Razak in one of his speech. Since then, people started to make fun of him for his unprofessionalism. Hence, as the successor of Najib, Zahid faced the same ridicule.
Zahid may seem to have a lot of supporters in Twitter. But, his network was a close circle with only Mukhriz responded to his candidacy as UMNO president. Additionally, his network excluded his opponent Khairy Jamaluddin, who is an active Twitter user, and other Pakatan Harapan politicians. In conclusion, Zahid is just living in his own echo chamber similar to his predecessor Najib Razak.