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Monday, 28 February 2011

Merlimau by-election prediction

10,679 voters (Merlimau)
6,935 Malay voters (64.94%)
2,218 Chinese voters (20.77%)
1,510 Indian voters (14.14%)
16 Other voters (0.15%)

My prediction:
Malays = BN 65%-35% PAS; BN 4,508 - 2,427 PAS
Chinese = BN 55%-45% PAS; BN 1,220 - 998 PAS
Indian = BN 80%-20% PAS; BN 1,208 - 302 PAS
Others = BN 100%-0% PAS; BN 16-0 PAS
Total = BN 6,952 - 3,727 PAS
Total majority = 3,225 [BN]

Assuming a turnout as follows:
Malays = 80% [BN 4,000 - 1,548 PAS]
Chinese = 70% [BN 900 - 653 PAS]
Indians = 55% [BN 700 - 130 PAS]
Others = 100% [BN 16 - 0 PAS]
Total = BN 5,616 - 2,331 PAS
Total majority = 3,285 [BN]

Now, if we see the pattern between 2004 and 2008, 2004 is a year of Mr Clean, which is in contrast to the 2008 tsunami. 2004 is BN's best ever results in the General Election, while 2008 is BN's worst ever results in the General Election. As far as where the economy is heading, majority of citizens from every race in Malaysia is very happy to stick with BN, possibly until the next GE, which is widely speculated this year, although I think it's going to be next year instead as both Najib and Muhyiddin are on state tours every month until all states are visited by them both.

However, we must remember than BN tends to do well in by-elections as they can focus all their huge resources toward the by-election, although it is likewise for PR, with an exception. BN has far more resources [mainstream media, 1Malaysia NGO, campaign budget to give voters cash], unlike PR who can only rely on those who read the alternative media and receive donations from members/citizens all over the country, which is still considered small fish as compared to BN's control of the tax money, being the government of the day.

Now, I don't really like Ali Rustam's view of a democracy. He claims that it is BN supporters 1st, only when it comes to the poor he won't discriminate. What kind of democracy is that, really?! Where did all those state budgets come from? Or even the federal budget for that matter?


Now, not everyone in Malaysia pays tax, but for those citizens who had to pay tax, they had to pay regardless of what their party affiliations are. So Ali Rustam, by his logic is saying that BN taxpayers get the priority ahead of PR taxpayers. In that case, why don't they just collect the taxes from just the BN taxpayers? It would have been more understandable that way if only BN taxpayers pay tax to the government (which happens to be BN in power).

What Ali Rustam forgets is that we're talking about the taxpayers' money, regardless of their political affiliation. No one should be given priority ahead of the other. It's against the principle of democracy itself if they discriminate taxpayers according to their political affiliation. Besides, Penang is the highest contributor of tax by state, and what do they get in return from the federal government? Peanuts. Although Penang now has the highest value of FDI (foreign direct investment) for the year, it is not the same as tax. We go back to the fundamental economic formula, which is C + I + G + NX. Now, tax (T) contributes to the government coffers to fund for their spending (G). So, we have the formula of T-G = Budget surplus/deficit (depending on whether T>G, or T
Thus, my point is, tax is paid regardless of the citizens' political affiliation. I repeat, there should not be discrimination towards taxpayers regardless of who they support in politics. Therefore, Ali Rustam's logic is fatally flawed (or in other words, he is using the slippery slope argument, which is trying to justify something without a strong enough argument). Even if I were the PM, I would never discriminate funds against states, even if it's ruled by the other party, not mine. They should be given what is rightfully theirs or it is cruel (zalim).

Coming back to the by-election context, PR has surprisingly won more by-elections than most people thought, considering the resources BN had at disposal. However, realistically, we are seeing the Malaysian people warming up to 1Malaysia, and with the economy on the up-slope, the rule of economics says that a growing economy always favour the incumbent government, which is BN.

On another point, 2008 saw a large number of protest votes against BN, which is mostly done by UMNO members. They are dissatisfied with the governance of former PM Abdullah Badawi. However, with Najib at the helm as PM, he is seen to be stronger than his predecessor, Abdullah Badawi. UMNO members, and even the Malaysian Chinese citizens, are warming up to his leadership, although I think it's mostly economically factors which caused the Chinese to come back to BN bit-by-bit. The Indians who voted against BN because of the Hindraf rally has now come back in droves to the BN, based on recent by-elections. Najib has sent a subtle message to the MIC which is to remove Samy Vellu sooner than his planned retirement, and it was done without a hitch, with Samy's successor now at the helm of MIC.

It is easy for PR to retain most of their core support, but it will never be enough if they were to defeat BN in the next GE. What they can do now is to consolidate their base of support and draw the fence-sitters to their side. It is highly unlikely that the same UMNO protest voters would ditch their party that has been their life and most possibly death. The next GE won't be about the converted, it will be mostly winning over the fence sitters, and the new young voters (including me). We young voters will be the next voice, which is why Najib is lobbying hard to win over the young voters.

However, recent campus elections suggested that BN will have a lot to do to win over the students, as Pro-Mahasiswa (mostly leaning towards PR) had stunned Pro-Aspirasi (mostly leaning towards BN) in winning 8 out of the 13 national universities (or IPTA, which is "Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam"). This is a big leap by Pro-Mahasiswa who had even taken down Pro-Aspirasi in their own backyard. Before the introduction of the e-voting system, which had mostly compromised the students' privacy in who they are voting for, the Pro-Mahasiswa would normally win up to 70% of the student votes. After the introduction however, it has been mostly pro-Aspirasi, until recently that is.

Going back to the by-election context, it is expected that BN would increase their majority in Merlimau from what they get in 2008, due to the good economy and a firmer leadership portrayed by Najib. PR would have no problems in retaining most of their core support among all races, but they have to find something extra to stem the tide of feel-goodness of the voters towards BN, especially those among fence-sitters.

I can only wish for a clean campaign from both sides, although it's quite unlikely so. Edited lewd pictures of PR leaders are making the rounds during the by-election already, as reported on Malaysiakini. However, I can only hope the voters are smart enough to reject dirty tactics by either political party (I'm only saying this in general).


Prediction: 3,285 (BN)
Actual: 3,643 (BN)

I may have psychic powers. =3

Friday, 18 February 2011

What were my activities in Berwick

I flew back to Melbourne last Sunday night and arrived the following morning. It's a bit weird to be separated once more from my beloved parents and my aunt who took care of me since I was a child until I was 12. 3 months holiday is just too short in my opinion. 2 of those months were used for my internship at KPMG under the Audit P department. It was an interesting work experience, although I felt I could have done a lot better.

It was tiring going through the long lines at the immigration and declaration department at the airport. After that, it was another long wait for the Monash transport to send me to Berwick. It had been an interesting chat with the chauffeur. The other 2 students in the car were from China and Singapore respectively. The Chinese guy is taking international business as his major (if I'm not mistaken) while the Singaporean guy is majoring in law. And the Malaysian guy (which is me) is majoring in Accounting & Economics. And so we have it, 3 different people taking different majors. We are a weird bunch, LOL. Not to mention going to different destinations. ;P

As I reached the Monash Residential Office (MRO), I can see some familiar faces around. I got my keys from Paul and I've been moved to the other Flat as they have closed down Flat #52 as there were no people living there anymore. So we're just left with Flat #51 and Flat #50. As I reached Flat #51B, it was kind of surprising to see familiar faces like Nicholas and Johan Ariff (from Monash Sunway like I was) and to have John Morton (the intellectual Man U fan) as my housemates is just awesome. Now we have 4 people (including myself) in our Flat. So we're just probably waiting for who the other housemate will be. Most likely it'll be a guy since Flat #50A are made up of all girls, haha.

TJ (Teck Juan in short) also came to our flat to spend a night or two as he has to help out with International Enrolment Day (which explains why I have to come back early due to enrolment). Also, Erwin and Alexander are living in the Flat next to ours. Boy, so many familiar faces. We spent 2 straight nights playing UNO cards. Dang, it was so much fun, especially when it comes to playing draw cards (for those who aren't familiar with UNO cards, it's +2 or +4 cards, where the player has to take 2 or 4 cards from the deck, or even more).

I also get to know new people living in the Flats during the Enrolment Day. It's interesting that they are taking some common subjects with me. I guess we'll keep in contact very soon.

Onto other things, I'm becoming active in sports once more. I played ping pong for 2 straight days with a 17 year old girl living in the Hall of Residence. Her attacking play is pretty good, but my defence ruled the day. We played like 23 sets on the 1st of 2 days, and I outscored her 21-2, not to say she was an easy opponent. ;P I have to thank her for rediscovering my defensive form. XD On the 2nd of 2 days (which is yesterday), we played like 19 sets during Karaoke Night for those new residents. Again, I outscored her 18 sets to 1, but that requires me to be at my defensive best, again. She's really my perfect opponent to rediscover my form. With the ping pong competition coming up at the end of March, it's looking rosy.

Anyway, it's time for me to sign off and take my bath and prepare to go to the mosque for Friday prayers at Westall (25 minutes trip by train from Berwick). Salam (to whichever Muslim readers reading this post) and goodbye (to non-Muslim readers) for now.