Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, current PM Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Youth and Sports Minster Syed Saddiq were Malaysia’s three most popular personalities of 2018 – on Google, that is.
The tech giant released its annual wrap-up, Year in Search, on Wednesday (Dec 12), ranking the most popular queries entered into the search engine this year.
Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor – who, alongside her husband, has been heavily implicated in the 1MDB scandal – was the fourth most-searched. And rounding out the list of the most-Googled people in Malaysia was former actress Meghan Markle, who wed Britain’s prince Harry in a high profile wedding earlier in May.
Malaysia’s most-searched topics
The crown of most-Googled topic of the year went to the quadrennial FIFA world cup.
In second place was the SPR, or the Election Commission of Malaysia – no big surprise, in light of the groundbreaking elections in May that toppled the 60-year BN regime and saw Mahathir and former political rival Anwar Ibrahim returned to power.
Third was Astro Awani, a local television network, followed by Lafazkan Kalimah Cintamu, a popular local TV drama starring Farid Kamil and Nelydia Senrose.
The romance series was adapted from a novel of the same name by author Siti Rosmizah.
In fifth place was also a TV series – the Story of Yanxi Palace, a hit Chinese drama set in the Qing dynasty, chronicling the political machinations and romances of people living in the imperial palace.
Most-searched news topics
Unsurprisingly, PRU14 – this year’s elections – was the most-searched news topic among Malaysians in 2018.
This was followed by searches for news on the sinister “Momo Challenge” – a suicide game that reportedly asked people to exchange Whatsapp messages with an individual known as Momo, who would reply with violent images and encourage the recipient to commit suicide.
Authorities worldwide issued warnings asking parents to prevent their children from taking part in the challenge after a 12-year-old Argentinan girl supposedly died as a result of exchanging texts with Momo, the Washington Post reported.
Following that was news of ICERD, a UN convention against racial discrimination which many rallied against.
In fourth place was the high-profile crash of Lion Air flight 610, which resulted in the death of 189 people. And the fifth most-searched news topic was the singles’ day sale – an annual shopping event founded by Alibaba and now held across major Asian e-commerce sites.
Most searched-for entertainment
Malaysia’s most-searched film this year was Black Panther, the highly-anticipated debut of Marvel’s first superhero of colour on the big screen – while the most-searched TV series was Lafazkan Kalimah Cintamu.
And of course, the most-searched song was the viral “Baby Shark” ditty by South Korean education company Pinkfong.