Saturday, January 29, 2022

‘i-Sinar’ tops the search charts in 2021 for Google Malaysia

Five of the 10 most frequently searched terms were related to financial assistance.

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“i-Sinar”, Putrajaya’s initiative allowing Malaysians to withdraw part of their EPF savings in order to cushion the financial blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, was the most frequently searched term for Malaysians this year, followed by “Euro 2021” and “Popcat”, Google Malaysia revealed today.

From a list of 10 trending search terms released by the internet platform, five were related to various aid packages introduced by the government during the pandemic crisis.

This is in contrast with the most highly searched terms in Malaysia last year which were linked to the US presidential election contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Google Malaysia spokesman Nadia Khan said the search terms painted a picture of the financial problems faced by the people due to the pandemic.

i-Sinar was introduced by the EPF towards the end of last year to allow eligible contributors to withdraw a total of RM10,000 from their Account 1.

A similar programme, “i-Citra”, came in fourth followed by “Bantuan Malaysia Prihatin”.

“EPL” or the English Premier League, and “Google Meet” took sixth and seventh place while “i-Akaun”, “Bantuan Prihatin Nasional” and “Squid Game” rounded off the list.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said in March that a total of RM52.48 billion in i-Sinar withdrawals had been approved so far for 5.94 million applicants.

For search terms related to Covid-19, the international trade and industry ministry’s “CIMS 3.0” platform for the registration of business oeprations during the lockdown period took first place.

Five of the top 10 search terms had to do with vaccination, while the remaining four were related to the movement control order or MCO.

Malaysia has gone through three such lockdowns since March last year as part of efforts to battle the spread of the highly contagious virus.

The MCOs saw the closure of borders, a ban on interstate travel, and the shutting down of most social and economic sectors.

The closure of schools due to the MCOs and the implementation of home-based teaching and learning meanwhile made education a hot search topic as well.

In this category, “Google Classroom” took first place followed by “Blooket”, “DeLIMa KPM” and “Liveworksheets”.

According to Google Malaysia, other hot topics included current affairs and sports.

But while Malaysia experienced its share of political turmoil this year, including the resignation of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister, an interest in such matters was not reflected in the Google search terms.

“If there was anything on politics, we would have included it,” Nadia said. “We don’t filter the search terms at all.

“But the focus has been on Covid, news, sports and learning.”

Google Malaysia’s search data was collected from January to November.

In terms of topical news, popular Netflix series “Squid Games” took first place followed by “Palestine”, “Sugarbook”, “ivermectin” and “PKPD”, the abbreviation for enhanced movement control order.

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