Monday, April 16, 2018

To Catch a Thief

Photo: EPA-EFE

Azman Ghani/The Star 

Activists banded as “Anak Muda Cari Jho Low” (AMCJL) staged a rally – called the “Perhimpunan Tangkap Pencuri” (Catch A Thief Rally) in Kuala Lumpur city on Saturday. 

The rally called for the arrest of financier Low Taek Jho (better known as Jho Low) and ‘thieves’ linked to the 1MDB financial scandal. 

There were close to five hundred protestors, according to one report I read. But it was a static rally because the crowd was ringed by a tight cordon of some 200 police officers. 

I guess so many were deployed to ensure that nothing "untoward" occurred!! 

Like all Malaysians, we are still waiting for Malaysian authorities to issue an arrest warrant to Jho Low. What are they scared of? 

Unless he has beans to spill.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Charismatic Animals

Researchers said the affection youngsters have for wildlife may be clouding the public's mind about how endangered those animals are. 

The study in the journal PLOS Biology listed what the authors say are the world's 10 most charismatic animals: tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, pandas, cheetahs, polar bears, gray wolves and gorillas. 

The common depictions of these animals in commercial, artistic and cultural outlets (e.g. cartoons, movies) have led to what the authors call "virtual populations" – the belief that the animals are not at risk of extinction in the wild because they appear to be everywhere. 

The study used the popular French baby toy "Sophie the Giraffe" as an example. Eight hundred thousand Sophie toys were sold in France in 2010 – more than eight times the number of real giraffes living in Africa. 

Despite their abundant media representation, nine of the animals on the list are classed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List. 

But conservation biologist Dr Sarah Durant cautioned that this doesn't yet establish "a causal relationship between seeing the species frequently in society and whether that relates to our bias perception of their endangerment". 

Surely, this represents an interesting area for further research. 

Yesterday, Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth with a dominant performance at Anfield to move one step closer to a top-four finish. 

The Reds made the perfect start when Sadio Mane followed up his own header to prod the ball past Cherries keeper Asmir Begovic in just seven minutes.

Then Trent Alexander-Arnold's high cross found Mohamed Salah with his back to goal, but the forward reacted quickly to send a high looping header over Asmir Begovic with his back to goal – in the sixty-ninth minute – to bring up his 40th goal of the season in all competitions. 

And in the 90th minute, Roberto Firmino confirmed a fifth win in six games for the Reds with his 15th league goal of the campaign – when he dragged a disguised near-post shot past the wrongfooted Begovic after a driving run and pass from Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

Liverpool's front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino have now scored 83 goals this season in all competitions, while the Reds have managed 300 goals in 148 games under Jurgen Klopp. Impressive.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

More Babies, More Handouts

Just because one goes to Oxford (left) does not make one an educated person – granted that Oxford is indisputably, one of the world's most prestigious universities. 

Take Oxford-educated Khairy Jamaluddin who is UMNO Youth chief for example.  He is one of Oxford's flawed output.

On Tuesday, he happily told Malaysian youths that if they want more handouts, they should have more children! 

Of course, there is a caveat – this will happen if BN win GE14. 

Firstly, he insulted the young people, pointedly telling them that they have no ambition other than to beg for dedak. 

Secondly, he insulted Malaysian women by implying they are no more than baby-making machines. 

Thirdly, he insulted every Malaysian’s intelligence by mouthing thrash. I trust most Malaysians will refuse to be stupid. And therefore, we will not embrace stupidity. 

Please give a listen to Mariam Mokhtar’s take on KJ – two versions, English and Malay:

Another reason why BN do not deserve our vote. 

On Thursday, I was back in Persiaran Setia Dagang, Setia Alam in Shah Alam, Selangor for the Top Glove Toastmasters meeting. 

I was privileged to be given the opportunity to deliver my project speech at the said meeting – in fact, I was the sole speaker. I presented a CC#6 Vocal Variety titled “Killing me softly”. 

There were not too many people in attendance but we more than made up for it by ensuring this meeting received blasts of energy, bursts of enthusiasm and bombardments of excitement. 

What’s important is that we all had a great meeting! And it was enjoyable too.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Big Data Predictions for GE14

On March 09, 2018, Rafizi Ramli revealed that Pakatan Harapan will be unable to form the next federal government; Barisan Nasional will still hold sway. 

His Invoke used big data to predict GE14 outcomes for Peninsular Malaysia – and from the prognoses, the end-result for Malaysia has been mixed. Meaning, good and bad. 

Based on Invoke’s Big Data

Good that Pakatan Harapan will win 89 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, putting it ahead of BN’s 76 parliamentary seats – should there be multi-cornered fights across the board. 

The predictions did not factor in Sabah and Sarawak, however – but it is widely expected that the two East Malaysian states will be backing BN. 

For sure, Sarawak is BN’s vote bank. Most pundits believe BN will retain not just the 25 seats won in GE13 but will possibly add more. 

And over in Sabah, BN are expected to still retain the state – in spite of Warisan’s challenge. Sabah has 26 seats including Labuan – which means to form the state government, they will need to win 14 seats minimum to give them a simple majority. 

If we accept the simple calculations above, BN can possibly accumulate a total of 115 parliamentary seats (i.e. 76+25+14 = 115). 

Basing on their current total number of 222 parliamentary seat, Najib Razak will only need to capture 112 seats to govern the country. 

If Invoke and I are "right" ("I really hope not!") in our assumptions, Barisan Nasional will lord over us for another five effing years! 

Based on Invoke’s Big Data 

At the state level, it is good that PH will retain Selangor and Penang, and they will add Kedah, Johor and Perak to the list of states under their control. 

However, BN will retain Terengganu and Pahang and even succeed in regaining Kelantan from PAS after 28 years. 

Negeri Sembilan and Melaka will be hung states with equal representation from BN and PH in the state assemblies. 

Note: The Invoke predictions were based on the seats after the redelineation exercise by the Election Commission. Interestingly, Invoke data showed that PH support among the Malays, Chinese and Indians stands at 14.1%, 82% and 40% respectively as of February 2018. 

Rafizi said Malay support had been increasing steadily each month since December. He noted what was more significant in the same three months was the decline of Malay support for BN by 6% a month since December from 41.1% to 28.5%. 

So will there be a Malay tsunami or not? 

Or even better, a Malaysian tsunami? 

Bersatu's Muhyiddin Yassin had referred to a “tsunami rakyat” (people’s tsunami), an anti-BN wave that is not dependant on one single race. (As reported by FMT on March 06, 2018). 

[Background info: The use of the term “tsunami” in politics came about after the 2013 general election, when Prime Minister Najib Razak said BN’s losses of many key urban seats were due to a “Chinese tsunami”]. 

Things are pretty much fluid now and I believe PH are making small but steady progress in persuading the electorate they deserve a chance to be in government. 

I continue to believe that Pakatan Harapan can be victorious in GE14. 

Whatever the case may be, this makes for a cliffhanger of an election!

BN and PH Both Confident

Barisan Nasional are convinced they will win GE14. 

In fact, if you believe in their bold pronouncements – which to me are way overblown and hyped out of proportion – they will continue to stay put in Putrajaya.

Based on The Malaysian Insight report dated April 10, 2017, one internal analysis done for BN in February that year gave us their best estimation of the number of federal seats they will be expected to win, i.e. 128. 

At worst, BN can win 122 seats. 

Both numbers are enough for BN to hold onto the government but many in the coalition are “working” to get better numbers – as both forecasts are lower than the 132 seats they currently have in their possession. 

A breakdown of the forecasts show BN are still confident of winning 50 federal seats in their “bank deposit” states of Sabah and Sarawak. They now hold 46 out of the 56 federal seats in both Borneo states. 

Another report eight months later showed BN in an even stronger position. 

In The Malaysian Insight report published December 12, 2017, Najib Razak had supposedly informed his inner circle that he is very confident that BN can take 140-160 seats in the 222-seat Parliament. 

One can assume Najib is bent on going all out to win decisively. Cheating. Dedak. Whatever it takes. 

Pakatan Harapan, on the other hand, declared that they could win GE14 because 115 seats are within their sights. Meaning 102 seats in Peninsular Malaysia, 8 in Sabah and 5 in Sarawak. 

This sureness came from the Invoke surveys that involved 5,000 voters who were randomly chosen throughout the country. 

Additionally, Invoke canvassed the sentiments of 1,500 voters in marginal seats, which are expected to see close fights between BN and PH. 

The national survey was conducted from December 5 to 13, 2017 while the marginal seats study was carried out from November 6 to December 15. 

[Note: Invoke is a think tank and voter mobilisation outfit led by Pandan MP and PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli]. 

Presently, BN hold 132 parliamentary seats, PH (70), PAS (15) and Parti Warisan Sabah (two). 

Now who can we believe? The answer lies in the hands of every Malaysian voter. 

As I have said, every vote counts!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Zealand is Racist

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) admitted her South Pacific nation is “undeniably” racist but said she is proud of efforts taken to stamp out the problem. 

The centre-left leader was responding to comments from Kiwi film-maker Taika Waititi that his homeland is “racist as f***”. 

Thor Ragnarok director Taika Waititi (right), who is Maori, had outlined the prejudice he had experienced in an interview with British magazine Dazed & Confused last week. 

“It’s racist as f***. I mean, I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it’s a racist place”, he declared. 

“People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Maori names properly. There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians”. 

He said he had been asked during his youth whether he was a glue sniffer, simply because of his Maori background. 

Waititi’s remarks prompted a fierce debate in New Zealand, with many backing him and others saying he was overstating a problem that was much worse in other countries. 

Asked for her view, Ardern had joked: “I don’t know where F sits on the quantum!” 

“I think probably you’d be hard-pressed to find a country that didn’t have racism in it”, she opened up on television on Tuesday. 

“Is New Zealand one of them? Undeniably. Is there racism in most countries? Undeniably. Can we do better? Yes". 

Now, that’s honesty and it is refreshing coming from a politician. 

I am willing to say Malaysia is racist too. 

It doesn’t really matter which ethnic background you belong to.  In one way or another, we are all racists, if we are really honest with ourselves.

Anyway, Ardern’s final comment represents optimism and hope: “I’m really proud of the efforts we make daily to do better”.

Waititi, who last year fronted a Human Rights Commission anti-racism campaign, waded back into the issue Wednesday in response to complaints that white New Zealanders are not the only people who displayed racism. 

“YES there are racist Maori”, he tweeted. “Many in my family too. It’s everywhere. That’s the damn point”.

May 09 is a Special Public Holiday

The federal government yesterday declared a special public holiday on May 09 to enable Malaysians to participate in the 14th general election. 

The Prime Minister’s Office said it was invoking the Holidays Act 1951 to make polling day an ad hoc national holiday. 

Malaysian employees, please know your rights – voting is a national duty. 

According to the Malaysian Employers Federation, employers must either observe the declared public holiday or make allowances for employees seeking to cast their vote on May 09, 

Also, yesterday, I was back in Jalan Jurubina U1/18 in the Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park in Shah Alam, Selangor to attend the Unipac Toastmasters meeting: 

I was there to evaluate an Advanced speech – Project #2 The Successful Negotiator – from the Interpersonal Communication manual. And I was voted Best Evaluator:

I also took part in Table Topics and I was voted Best Table Topics speaker: