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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 9 June 2010

The Survey and the Bikini

When I was learning statistics for economists, my good professor said that statistics is like a bikini. That certainly raised the temperature of testosterone- laden males and caught the attention of the 15 of us in the class. You see, he continued...WHAT IT REVEALS ARE SUGGESTIVE, BUT WHAT IT HIDES ARE VITAL.

In a similar sense what the Merdeka Survey Centre Research did and what were eventually reported by the 'middlemen' media is like how statistics is perceived. What the MSM papers chose to reveal were suggestive but they failed or were negligent in revealing what are vital. Which is more important? To maintain the feel good float-in-the air sensation or telling the rakyat, the vital things concerning them?

Personal approval rating does not automatically translate into votes. There is much discontentment on the ground. The subsidy issue tops the list and if implemented will amount to a death wish by the PM and his administration. Is cutting subsidies however narrowly or widely defined they are ( Jala perhaps lumped everything the government spent as subsidy, while the MOF in an exercise of fine tooth-combing and selective nitpicking defined them narrowly so as to save the situation) a better option to reduce deficit spending? Cut the expenditure in building the new Istana is better, cut defense spending as in sell of the submarine, etc.

The Merdeka Center conducted its survey using phone calls. With almost everyone using hand phones, why limit the sample to just over a thousand respondents?

Go to the UMNO branches which are carrying out their annual general meetings now. So many branches in Kuala Lipis Division are finding it hard to meet the quorum for valid meetings. What about the meetings in Pekan? Most of them are quorum valid on paper only. What do these show? These show that conviction among UMNO members is waning.

People recognize the mood of the people at the moment is against UMNO. Many reasons:

  • UMNO hasn't change its we know best attitude and therefore remains a cocky bastard.
  • It implements stupid ideas- withdrawal of subsidies with the rakyat bearing the brunt,
  • the introduction of the NEM which does not address the issues of Malay economic interests,
  • The issuance of the Sports Betting License.
  • Did the MERDEKA SURVEY reveal the cynical remarks from the public at large that PM Najib is fast becoming Bapa Perjudian?
  • Finally, people are also fed up that talks about combating corruption are inversely related to efforts. That is, the more we talked about reducing corruption and increasing transparency, the less are we inclined to carry them out. Consider tenders. At what point do we decide that some tenders, because of strategic reasons are not done on open basis? Re: the Sungai Besi and Sungai Buloh Lands and the Matrade Land?

The point is, shoring up the personal ratings of PM Najib cannot hide the discontentment of the people who are more likely to translate their dissatisfaction into votes next time around. If the prevailing mood that is not favorable to UMNO continues, the discontentment will be translated accordingly.

What are the components of their discontent?

  • 61% are not satisfied with the government's efforts to fight corruption
  • 57% do not believe in the government's efforts to fight crime
  • 58% are not satisfied with the way the police are handling the case
  • 53% chose corruption above inflation, foreign investment and the environment as the No 1 issue to be tackled
  • 76% believe the best company should get the government contract, regardless of race
  • 72% think Bumiputera companies should compete for government contracts
  • 66% think some contracts should be reserved and Bumiputera companies to compete among them for the jobs
  • 45% disagree and 46% agree that the government is spending public money prudently
  • Social problems in general (11%)
  • Corruption, abuse of power (9%)
  • Too much politicking (8%)
  • Unity and communalism (7%), crime and public safety (7%)
  • Prices and rising cost of living (6%)
  • Racial discrimination (4%), management of national wealth (4%), education (4%)

None of these was reported in the main news stories. Also not reported:_

  • 26 percent wants improvement on police and security service
  • 23% wants affordable housing schemes
  • 18% wants public infrastructure( transport for example)
  • 17% regard upholding judicial independence is important
  • 8% thinks media independence is important.

These were not reported. And of course the Malay papers are oblivious to these findings. They regard the survey outcomes as non consequential and certainly not worth the space on which to print them.

Malaysians will love PM Najib even more if these issues are tackled and revealed by the newspapers.


Anonymous,  9 June 2010 at 09:39  

The other day I talked to my 80 year old mother on the phone and made a negative comment about the govt. She surprised me by telling me to not talk like that on the phone as the govt may be listening!!

Phone interview is unreliable. Inherently bias

Encik Benta,  9 June 2010 at 09:56  

Excellent stuff and you are spot on! I am a ketua cawangan in K.Lipis and we had our AGM last week, and sure enough, it was a paper quorum only. I told them that we would be finished in PRU13. Alas, most of them agree with me. PAS is making significant inroads in K.Lipis. One ahli jokingly suggested that we replace our UMNO cawangan with that of PERKASA! So, bottomline, you are right. We at the grassroot level have lost our semangat perjuangan...

Masam Manis,  9 June 2010 at 12:05  

Dato Sak.

Your articles reminded me of a classic story written by Hans Christian Andersen titled The Emperor's New Clothes. There is so much to learn from such story.'s_New_Clothes

Quiet Despair,  9 June 2010 at 12:49  

Encik Benta

Yeh matnya auk deraih ngat keciwa.
Kejelah kuet sikit.
Jangelah palo Najib orang kita kaloh weh.
Dah lama tak jenguk orang kampung kaeh. Pandei jugek ye orang kampung kite merajuk.
Tak macam dulu ya letak batupun UMNO boleh menang.
Auk tak takut ke hilang jawatan sebagai ketua cawangan. Jangelah n mendoakan UMNO kaloh dalam PRU 13.
Rasa kaeh, Pahang selamet lagi untuk Najib.

Sorry Sak. 'Lepih' speak ngan my orang kampung. Next time I talk kuchiang with you okay?

Frank,  9 June 2010 at 13:30  

Dato Sak

Leaving aside suspicions and doubts about the survey itself, what is interesting is that the population sample of the survey revealed is that

(1) LESS than TEN PER CENT of Malaysians think

-- media independence is important (8 %)

(2) LESS than TWENTY PER CENT of Malaysians

- wants AFFORDABLE housing schemes

- wants public infrastructure( transport for example) (18 %)

- regard upholding JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE is important

(3) Only A QUARTER of Malaysians

- wants affordable housing schemes (23%)

- wants improvement on police and security service (26%)

WHO ARE THESE CHAPS they have sampled?

Pretty unreal. 80 % of the sample must be from the rural folks... the nestbed of political votes

Donplaypuks® 9 June 2010 at 14:10  

The "du-it" mentally (to borrow your term) clearly outnumbers the "JUST DO IT" (very few) thinkers in the teflon coated PMship of the Rosemajibs!!

As has the "shiok sendiri" direct nego non-tendered rent seeking and addicted dependency culture.

We have the Rosemajibs who twice publicly lied about meeting Saiful and a Govt which has flip-flopped/ u-turned on RPGT, 2-tiered petrol pricing, GST, ice box for fish, toll and electricity increase, gas sale to Iran, and the latest on betting licence and $74 billion vs $18.6 billion subsidies etc., etc., etc. over the last year!!

In fact mereley looking at the Rosemajibs can result in your eyeballs rolling off their sockets effortlessly as they attempt to to get a fix on their frictionless faces!

Well, we are not buying all these "lies, damn lies and statistics"; no, not today or tomorrow or...

we are all of 1 race, the Huma Race

amatMok 9 June 2010 at 14:33  

This really reminds me of the story "The Emperor's New Cloth". The spinners in UMNO/BN camp will be telling this over and over how popular Najib is. After a while, even they themselves will believe this. Keep on dreaming so that come PRU13, you get a nightmare!

Masa Tun M dulu semua puji dia, pas tu time Pak Lah semua kata dia betui. La ni zaman Najib. Semua kata kentut dia pun wangi. Tapi bila masing-masing dah tak jadi PM, semua tak elok. Tak caya tanya Tun M lah. Budaya mengampu ni tebai sungguh!

Anonymous,  9 June 2010 at 14:39  

Results can be doctored. Merdeka Survey is good at that.
I want to know who were interviewed and how?
They go to the farmers, mak ciks, minah karans, mat rempits... what do they know?
Who conducted the surveys? UMNO boys or police constables?

Donplaypuks® 9 June 2010 at 14:42  

"In the same report, they also stated that of the 1,028 sampled, 47% responded as unemployed or "not in the workforce"! This alone should raise questions on the credibility of the poll and its sampling." M2Day.

Need anyone say more of this teflon coated PMship of the Rosemajibs?

we are all of 1 race, the Human race

Suci Dalam Debu 9 June 2010 at 16:25  


Memang Retak Menanti Belah. Akan jadi Patah Arang.Tak boleh diperbaiki lagi.

Wahai insan yang sayangkan negara dan mahu masa depan generasi akan datang tidak kabut, marilah kita berganding bahu, berkorban, ikat perut dan berani bersuara untuk melakukan apa sahaja yang perlu untuk menghapuskan BN yang durjana ini.

Pemimpin2 BN jarang ada yang ikhlas. Kalau pedoman kata

Siakap senohong gelama ikan duri, Bercakap bohong lama-lama mencuri

maka pemimpin kerajaan yang sedia ada sekarang dah sampai ke tahap MEROMPAK duit rakyat.

sniper,  9 June 2010 at 19:00  


Just like the FIFA ranking, come the world cup fever every 4 years, doesn't mean that Brazil will be the champion.

The nation's fate will depend in the hand of their coach and his 24 players.

Anonymous,  9 June 2010 at 21:27  

Your article I think represents what the silence majority need for the government. They would decide in PRU13. A lot of media works is in play to promote Najib..but the effect is insignificant. People dont feels good like what they had during 22 yeear Che Det's regime.

Anonymous,  10 June 2010 at 00:13  

Dear Dato,
I am a senior-citizen but never a member of any political party.
In the last many months I have been reading your blogs, particularly on the subsidy issue, and related comments. I feel compelled to share with you some of my thoughts on the subject, as follows:
1. I agree that some day we will have to remove almost all subsidies. For the moment, priority should be on removing those subsidies that enrich those who are already rich. Subsidies on food , transport, etc. that go to the ordinary man on the street must not be touched, regardless of the cost for now. This is necessary to counter the serious imbalance in the distribution of income and wealth now. Today any growth in the economy largely benefit the rich and big business. For example, the recent announcement of double digit growth in the economy last quarter are largely translated into higher income to the rich. Just look around in Kuala Lumpur. Property prices in prime areas are rising to unbelievable heights beyond the means of many fixed income earners. Yet they are snapped up fast by the high income group. Look at the posh cars on the road. Who are those who can afford them?. The low and middle income group do not benefit from high growth. But we share the brunt of higher costs and crime that come with higher growth. Thus subsidies to the poor is a small means of addressing income inequalities. Look at crime. Urban migration and immigrant labour serve big businesses. They also lead to more crimes. But the rich barricade themselves within guarded and gated housing areas to keep- crimes away. The ordinary Malaysians do not have this privilege. Is this fair?
2. Pension paid to civil servants are not subsidy. Civil servants worked a major part of their lives at low pay, and the pension paid to them constitute a deferred payment of unpaid salaries. That is why under our laws pensions must be paid before salaries as liabilities. Do you know that a civil servant has to serve at least 25 years before they are eligible for pension? But this is not the case for politicians. A member of Parliament or a State Assembly can serve for one day and retire to get full pension? Pensions to politicians may be classified as subsidy or unnecessary expenditure as they were created for political expediency. This pension should be reviewed?
3. I agree that a review of expenses is a more urgent measure. The proposal to shift Parliament House is an example of wrong priority. Parliament is an august house where adults debate intellectually. But our Parliament comprises elderly people with child-like behaviour? If we impose a code of behaviour for our so called Parliamentarians, then many will not pass as fit and proper. To me, they do not deserve a new building.
4. I cannot end writing without touching on another important area – Defence. I agree that unnecessary spending should be cut. But please show more respect to our boys in uniform who risk their lives to enable us to live well and to enable politicians to talk. Do you know that most military personnel have short career in the military. After that they leave with a small pension, sometime smaller than what the jaga kereta boys get. Yet we want to say that their pensions are subsidies and should be reviewed?
5. I suggest that you and your commentators should be guarded in talking about defence. There are many in Malaysia who are proponents of a ‘Surrender Policy’. These people will play up any issues on defence in order to make the military look bad and weaken it. Many of them prefer less defence even if that means parts of Malaysia could be overrun by foreign powers. Then, parts of Malaysia will become like the West Bank in Palestine. This may be a major consequence of a Surrender Policy. This may meet their political objectives.
I will stop here for now.
Thank you.

Anonymous,  10 June 2010 at 08:20  


Here we are spending lots of time discussing Najib's approval ratings,subsidies,inclusiveness,new economic this pls>>

Even in Kuantan you will be hard pressed to get 25% on pawah>>but happily govt gives away "Prime Commercial Land" for only 20%..its like a 600m subsidy to the rich folks that runs Setia.

Forget the myth that EPF,PNB maybe the biggest shareholders cos the real bucks lies with the mgmt.And apart from the token chairman...the most senior guy with myb the MD's driver.

Life goes on..
In just a few days we hv seen 1Msia give a gaming license worth billions,a 32 bil direct nego job,another few billions to some cukong for we will hv news of 1Msia NEM of pulling back subsidies (for welfare too) and giving devt rights to the likes of Setia,Malton etc.Are all the big tycoons taken care of?Anyone else we shld please?We must practise inclusiveness,meritocracy and of cos transparency.

God bless..

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