Missing In Action – that’s what happened to a Star poll on the Bersih gathering after it showed 99 per cent of respondents said the event should be allowed to go ahead.
Wahai, ‘People’s Paper’, apa sudah jadi? Mana poll itu pergi? Maybe time to change the tagline of the paper to ‘Our Master’s Paper’?
PETALING JAYA, Jun 21: A poll on the July 9 Bersih rally by The Star‘s online edition has disappeared after registering more than one million responses.
MISSING … The results of the poll as at 9.30 am today
Earlier, Harakahdaily reported that the poll result showed that 99% of respondents were in support of the rally called by electoral reform group Bersih in Kuala Lumpur next month.
However, at press time (5.25pm), not only the question has been reverted to an earlier poll about Ron95 petrol purchase by foreign-registered cars, its result was also missing from its archives. Earlier, the result page for the poll showed a page with the message “Record not found”.
The question on the poll reads: “What is your view on the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9?”, to which 99 percent of the respondents chose the answer “It should be allowed to go on”, as opposed to the remaining option, “It should be cancelled”.
The number of respondents is possibly the highest recorded by any online poll conducted by the online edition of The Star, which boasts of the highest number of visitors among other mainstream dailies with internet presence.
The poll comes as the Election Commission made an appeal to Bersih to cancel its rally, saying it would be prepared to hear its demands, an offer snubbed by Bersih chairperson Ambiga Srenevasan who said the time for negotiation had long been over.
Earlier, some eighty organisations joined hands over the weekend to renew their support for the rally and urged the police to protect their right to peaceful assembly from threats made by a number of right-wing politicians.
The Star has responded by giving its reason for pulling the poll:
The Star has clarified that its online poll on the Bersih 2.0 rally was removed after the results were suspected to have been subject to manipulation.
In a statement on its website today, the poll was activated last night and garnered more than a million responses in less than 24 hours, arousing suspicion.
“The Star Online polls attract an average of only about 50,000 responses over several days.
“Furthermore, the total number of unique visitors to The Star Online is about 400,000 per day, lending further credence to our suspicion that there was manipulation afoot,” read the statement.
The daily explained that the online poll could have been manipulate through various methods including “scripted routines or ‘bots'” that will repeat tasks on the website.
“Indeed, an initial examination of our site logs showed up to 60,000 visits to the poll page from just one IP address.
“Therefore, acting upon the belief that the poll results were tainted, we made the decision to take it offline just before noon today.
“We regret that our effort to give the public a voice has been tainted by this act,” read the statement.
Based on a Google Cache snapshot of the poll results at 6.11am this morning, there were about half a million respondents, with 97 percent supporting the Bersih rally.
The number rose to 1.3 million by mid-day, with 99 percent of respondents supporting the rally.