Foreign news report on Ijok

This is how the foreign news reported on the Ijok by election, this one is from Reuters:

Defeat for Malaysia’s Anwar fans talk of early poll

By Mark Bendeich and Clarence Fernandez

30th April 2007

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The Malaysian government celebrated on Monday a symbolic defeat over its most feared political opponent in a weekend by-election, hardening expectations of an early general election.

The government struck a triumphant note after Saturday’s election, which dealt a blow to Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition party and gave the ruling coalition a morale boost as it geared up for a general election expected late this year or early 2008.

“Democracy is still alive and fresh,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who led the coalition by-election campaign, told reporters with obvious satisfaction on Monday.

The by-election in Ijok, a semi-rural seat outside the capital, was a proxy battle between Najib and Anwar: both widely thought to have burning ambitions to lead the country.

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‘Malaysia tycoon to buy out telco Maxis’

From the Washington Post, a piece of news about Malaysia’s latest buyout. 

By Syed Azman
Sunday, April 29, 2007; 11:56 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan plans to buy out the country’s largest mobile operator, Maxis Communications <MXSC.KL>, the firm said on Monday, in a deal that could be worth at least $5 billion.

Maxis gave no reason for the buyout plan but industry analysts speculated that Krishnan, the country’s second richest man after Robert Kuok, might want to relist Maxis offshore and raise foreign capital to fund international expansion.

Maxis, which faces a price war and a maturing market at home, is expanding into larger and less developed Asian markets like Indonesia and India to drive growth.

“It is a surprise move,” said Cheah King Yoong, head of investment research at Malaysia’s SJ Securities. “But I would not be surprised if Maxis is listed overseas.”

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Ijok and the Chinese votes

Related link: How to gain back the Chinese votes? 

BN has won Ijok as I have expected. Looking at the polling district breakdown, the 59% of the total votes that BN obtained probably made up of 28% of Malay votes (out of the 51% Malay total), 22.5% Indian(out of 28% of Indian total) and only about 8.5% from the Chinese votes(out of the 21%).

Which means that BN got only about 40% of the total chinese votes against Keadilan which probably won about 60% of the Chinese votes. This conforms to the results of the Merdeka Centre’s survey, even though the survey was targeted at the urban population.

I hope BN leaders, in their midst of their celebration, would stop and ponder for awhile why there is such a swing of the Chinese votes. In the last general election, BN has won the majority of the Chinese votes in Ijok with probably over 60% of Ijok Chinese voted for the late BN candidate.

This is only a semi-urban area , 50km from Kuala Lumpur. Imagine how the urban Chinese would vote if an election is called now. The vote swing in urban areas would be worse. Furthermore, in a general election, BN machinery and manpower would be spread out and campaigning cannot be as intense or effective as in this by election.

UMNO would have no problems  winning their semi rural and rural seats. It is MCA and Gerakan, whose constituencies are mainly in the urban areas, that would be facing this problem of vote swing.

In the 2004 election, out of the 12 Parliament seats with over 70% Chinese majority, BN has only won 2, Bukit Bendara in Penang and Petaling Jaya in KL. This time around, if the election is called now, even these 2 seats may not be safe. Seats with just over 60% of Chinese votes, which would normally be safer,  would also not be as secure as before.

So it is important for BN, as a responsible government and as a party trying to win as much seats as possible, to find out the reasons why there is such discontent among the urban Chinese .

I would like to re-post excerpts from an article which I have written sometime back titled “MCA’s dilemma” in which I have dealt with some of the discontent. It is up to the BN leaders to take effective and immediate steps to address these problems and come out with solutions before the next election so that they can gain back the Chinese support.

This was an excerpt from what I wrote in January:

Over the past one year, the people  staying in urban areas have not been too happy. First, petrol hike. Then electricity and water tariffs went up. The retail economy was not in too good shape. All these add up to higher inflation rate and most people , especially the middle lower class, feel that their disposible income is shrinking while at the same time, there are not many ways to boost income. People walking in the street feel unsafe as crime rate seems to have go up. Then comes the toll hikes in the region of 20-60% increase.

For the more politically conscious, last year was also a very disappointing year. First, anti corruption promises remained as promises. IPCMC was still in the stage of being mentioned, after being mentioned for more than 3 years.  

Some of the issues like inflation has been controlled (refer my post on Malaysian Inflation eases). The economy is moving ahead, with the share market breaking the all time high just earlier this month.(read my poston Share market)

Then there is the issues of the NEP (read my post on Analysis from a Chinese Business leader) which a lot of the urban people and businessmen thought is no more relevant and has outlived its usefulness.

The Chinese and Indian parents also face a dilemma in their children’s education. (see my letter to Malaysiakini :the dilemma of the Chinese and Indian Parents)

All these problems need to be addressed urgently to gain back the urban support.

BN wins Ijok by election as predicted – General Election soon?

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has won the crucial Ijok by-election with a bigger majority of 1,850.Election Commission returning officer Haris Kasim announced that BN’s MIC candidate K Parthiban bagged 5,884 votes while PKR’s Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, 4,034.

The majority is 1,850, which is higher than the 2004 general election result, where BN won with a majority of 1,649.

In my earlier postings All eyes on Ijok 2, I have made the prediction, based on my analysis at that time, that BN will win Ijok 53%-47%. But the actual result shows that BN won by 59% to 41% .

PKR won only 2 polling districts of Kampung Ijok and Pekan Ijok, with the remainig 7 districts won by BN. BN won big in the Indian majority areas of Sg Darah and Tuan Mee but the Chinese and Malay areas were very close and almost evenly matched.  BN must thank Samy Vellu and MIC for delivering solid Indian votes.PKR lost because it cannot increase its shares of Malay votes ( a decrease in fact), though it has made inroads into the Chinese areas.

The actual winners are the people of Ijok. I am sure after this election, development of this DUN will be speeded up and the residents here can probably expect better days to come.

With this win, General election may not be too far away. My prediction is that it will be held in November this year. Please read my earlier post Is the General Election imminent?

Vladimir Horowitz plays Traumerei

One of the most distinguished and best known pianists of the twentieth century was Vladimir Horowitz. He was born in 1903 in Ukraine and later went to US and became a naturalised US citizen. He died in 1989 at the age of 86.

During his prime , he was regarded as one of the best pianists in the world, along with Arthur Rubinstein.

I am posting a video of him playing Robert Schumann’s “Traumerei” in 1986 in a Moscow concert,  when he was 83 years old. This concert was one of his famous 1986 tour of his motherland when it was undergoing a tremendous change during the transition from communism.

Traumerei,  otherwise known as “dreaming”,  is from Schumann’s work Kinterseznen, “childhood.  It is not a very difficult piece to learn but it is not easy to master  emotionally. It has become one of the most famous pieces of music, full of emotions and feelings, and Horowitz is considered the best in his interpretation of this piece. Some of the Russian audience were moved to tears  during this performance.

The video is less than 3 minutes but it is really worth listening to.

Ijok – 50- 50 going into the last lap

Just came back from Ijok. The situation is really hot with no sign of a clear winner.

Those workers on the ground said it is still 50-50 chance for both candidates.

Whoever will win depends on how the voters vote tomorrow. More importantly, how the fence sitters will vote. (Those who have not make up their minds yet)

A carnival atmosphere pervades the whole town, and this is really one of the hardest fought by election ever. I even spotted a Mat Salleh around one of the dinner ceramah in Batang Berjuntai. Is he from one of the embassy? I wonder.

So let us wait for the results tomorrow (or rather today since now it is 12.30am). I hope both sides will exercise restraints and let the voters of Ijok cast their votes in peace and in orderly manner.

Thanks to 2 of my fellow bloggers

I wish to thank 2 of my fellow bloggers for highlighting 2 equally important pieces of information to me.

Scott from his blog (Buuuuurrrrning hot) highlighted the music from Nubuo Uematsu, who is the composer for the Final Fantasy ( a very popular video games) music. His music, like the Aeris Theme of Final fantasy VII, are very emotionally charged and listeners will be moved to tears, and hence it has certainly enhanced and contributed to the success of the immensely popular games. Those of you who wish to listen to his music can go to the video link here.

nobuo.jpgNubuo Oematsu

Another fellow blogger, from Bolehnation, has posted an exclusive interview with Michael Backman, the famous writer-commentator from Australia. 

michael-backman.jpgMichael Backman gives an interview

I think the interview is very insightful and please go to the link to read about what Michael Backman has to say. Anyway, I will quote the last remark he made:

Speak up more and shop less. Too many Malaysians think that if they voice any dissent – write a letter to a newspaper and so on – that Special Branch will take an interest in them. That is not the case. Special Branch doesn’t have enough staff and enough technical sophistication to monitor everyone. If you think Malaysia is a modern, sophisticated country then prove it. Have an opinion and voice it. Give the government constructive criticism. Don’t leave it all to Dr M to do. Governments govern better when people bother to point out when they are doing things wrong. They govern better when they are accountable.

My earlier postings on Michael Backman:

1. While Malaysia fiddles, its opportunities are running dry.

2. Michael Backman hits back

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