The myth of the new voters

There are 3 millions new voters in the next general election. Both sides are trying very hard to get these votes. Many of the measures adopted by both sides are aimed at getting most of these votes.

Generally speaking, young voters are more of the anti-establishment type and so on the surface, it would be a boom to the opposition with some many young voters voting for the first time.

However, things are often not quite they are if we look deeper. The key question is how many of these young voters are in marginal seats?

If most of these young voters are in urban or semiurban areas which are already won by quite a comfortable margin by the opposition, then there would not be much impact on the number of seats won by the opposition,

For example, in the area where I reside, PJ Utara, Tony Pua won by a majority of more than 19000 votes in a constituency with 56000 voters. Let us say that there is now an additional 10,000 new voters in this constituency for the next GE, and most of these new voters are for the opposition.  Their votes would not make much of a difference in Parliament representation, except to ensure that Pua will win by a bigger margin.

I suspect most of the 3 millions new voters are in urban and semi urban areas since young people tend to drift to the cities to find jobs and settle down. I do not have the figure, but if that is the case, it would only secure what is already quite secure fortresses of the opposition, and impact wise, it would not make  as much of a  difference as to be expected from the percentage of new voters versus total votes.

It would be therefore be interesting if anyone who has access to the number of new voters in all the constituencies to analyse how many of the marginal seats have more than 30% of new voters.

In a constituency of 10,000 voters won by BN where the winning margin is slightly less than a thousand (let us say 900 votes), the opposition needs  a  45%   increase in new votes if  more than 60% of these new voters voting the opposition (the mathematics is as followed: 60% of the new 4500 votes go to the opposition which is 2700, versus 40% of the 4500 new votes which is 1800, an increase of 900 votes won). This is on the assumption that the old voters are voting along the same line as before.

If more than 70% of new voters vote for opposition versus 30% for BN in such a BN constituency, then  the opposition needs an increase of 30% of new voters to have any chance of winning that seat.

We know that although most young voters are anti establishment, we must not forget that in any cohort, at least 30% would likely vote against general trend. So in general, if a BN seat has a winning margin of more than 900 votes, then we need to have more than 30% of new voters to have a different outcome, assuming again that old votes voting along the same line as before.

I suspect not many of the BN seats will have such a big proportion of young voters. Most of the young voters will be in urban and semi urban constituencies already held by PR.

Therefore, in my view,  the new votes  would not make  as much of a  difference as to be expected from the percentage of new voters versus total votes.

The impact of course would be bigger if the margin of winning in such BN seats is less than 900 votes.

Nevertheless, the new votes would, as I have mentioned above, make PR seats more secure , and that would make it unlikely for BN to win more than 2/3 of seats, nor win back  the states of Penang and Selangor. Thus, even in the event of a BN win in the GE, these new votes would ensure that BN’s win would not be any better than the last GE…

Apathy, crime rate and feeling safe

The late Bo Yang, a famous Taiwanese writer, wrote a book called ‘The ugly Chinese”. While what he said is true for certain groups  of the Chinese people, it is actually wrong to profile all Chinese as ugly..

I would say that only a small portion fits the ‘ugliness’ described by Bo Yang. Many of the more educated ones ( by education, I do not mean University or college degree, but rather home upbringing,  since  true education starts from home) are compassionate, since the central teaching of Confucianism is about “REN” or Compassion.

But there are certain old Chinese “Wisdom” passed down from common folks that actually helped shaped the ugliness of certain Chinese people which may have even influenced other Asians, including Malaysians.

For example, there is this saying that ‘ sweep away the snow in front of your house, but do not bother to clean the ice from others’ roofs’. Because of this saying, there are many people who would teach their children not to bother about the affairs of other people, and just to keep to themselves. What they fail to realise is bad happenings can occur to anyone, and if ever they need help, they sure would not want others to practice what they have taught their children.

The recent case of an old lady who fell after being the victim of a snatch thief was a clear cut case of this saying. CCTV showed that 5 persons actually walked past without even rendering any help.

It was the 6th person, a very old Chinese Ah Pek with a walking stick that tried to wave and stop passers-by for help. Eventually 4 person from the nearby flats came to help, but it was too late. The lady died.

This is really apathetic. Some may argue that even with instant help, the lady might still die, but that is actually besides the point here. The point is it could easily be a case that with early and instant help, the victim might survive.  And it could be anyone of us (or our loved ones) who could have been the victim,  given that this type of snatch and run business is now so rampant and common.

As a doctor, I have treated umpteen cases of such victims. Many , in fact, would choose not to make police reports, since to them it would be it would be an exercise in  futility, since we seldom hear of any snatch thieves being caught.

Increasingly, people are now more self centered and selfish. It is now not common to see youngsters standing up and giving their seats to more needy ones, in all forms of public transportation. Sometimes, it is the old chilvarous Ah Pek who would stand up and give his place to a more needy one, and what shameful culture is that!

This apathy apart, we have some conflicting news about crime rate. While the authority maintains that crime rate has come down, we have increasingly come across or heard about robberies. Even areas with security cameras and patrols, such as parking areas of shopping complexes, are no more safe.

While we do not doubt the figures given by the authority, it may be that many victims do not report to police. In other words, there is a gross under-reporting that is happening, resulting in a lower official crime rate.

If that is the case, then we must find out the reason why people do not report such crimes.

Safety to move about is one of the most basic right of a citizen. If we cannot feel safe to go shopping, or we have to worry about the safety of our loved ones who go shopping, then something is really very wrong.

Telling us that crime rate has come down would  not make us feel safer.  In order for feel safe, we must actually see for ourselves that there is a real reduction of stories about robberies in the streets, in the malls, in our own neighbourhood. We must see for ourselves that there are robbers and thieves being caught, charged and jailed.

It would not do to ask newspapers not to report crime happenings, since the primary duty of any news organisation is to report news, whether good or bad.

It would be a case of the proverbial ostrich which bury its head in the sand.

(This article is also available in TMI here.)

An inconsequential debate

A friend asked me why I didn’t want to attend the Chua-Lim debate yesterday.

Not only did I not want to attend , I did not even listen to the debate on radio. 

This is because I do not want to waste my time. 

This debate is inconsequential. Nothing is going to be changed after this debate. 

Whatever each side says would be old stuff that have already come out in the internet. ( I was proven right)

There would not be any policies changes; much of the debate would only be mudslinging, and defending each others’ record. 

This debate is also not going to change how people are going to vote.

Malaysian politics have become so partisan that a person is either for Chua or for Lim, and for those who supported Chua, everything he said would be gospel and similarly for those who supported Lim, whatever he uttered would be the truth.  

In the city area, especially among the target group ( urban Chinese and English speaking crowds), most have already decided how to vote and most are just waiting for the Election. 

NO matter how much dirt each side digs out, it would not make any difference.