Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

Chinese Tsunami?

May 27, 2013

Of course it was. Here’s why.


The above scatter diagram is derived from voting data of the 11 Kuala Lumpur parliamentary constituencies. The x-axis is the percentage of Chinese registered voters in each constituency. The y-axis is the percentage of the total vote garnered by Pakatan in said constituencies.

One could immediately see a correlation between the proportion of Chinese voters and votes for Pakatan. In fact, the linear best fit line shown has an R-squared value of 0.98, which means the correlation is very strong indeed. The formula for the line allows us to estimate how many of the Chinese voted for Pakatan:
Setting x = 100 gives us the percentage of Chinese voters that voted for Pakatan. 0.5381*100 + 35.074 = 89 %
Setting x = 0 gives us the percentage of non-Chinese voters that voted Pakatan. 0.5381*0 + 35.074 = 35 %

So, in KL, approximately 89% of Chinese voters chose Pakatan while only 35% of everyone else did the same.

If everyone across the country voted in the same way as KL voters have, we should expect the number for the country as a whole to be somewhere close to this line. If, as claimed by some, more urban Malays and Indians voted for Pakatan as compared to their rural counterparts, we would expect the national number to be significantly below the line.

Let’s do a quick calculation. According to the SPR, the percentage of total registered voters that are Chinese is 30%. Plug this figure into the formula (0.5381 * 30 + 35.074) and we get 51%. Remember, this is the % of the popular vote we would expect Pakatan to get if the different races voted across the country as they did in KL. What was the actual number? Also 51%.

So, the rural urban divide is a myth. Urban Malays voted in pretty much the same way as rural Malays. The same goes for the Chinese, Indians and everyone else. The predominant factor determining how people voted in GE 13 was their race, not where they lived. The only reason why Pakatan won more urban seats is because there are more Chinese living in urban areas.

Edit 12 pm 31/05/2013:

It seems someone has beaten me to the punch 🙂

You can find similar analysis, only much more comprehensive, by Sdr DAH Ikhwan at his excellent blog here.

The Ugly Malaysian

May 7, 2013

No, not the man in the white shirt, but the baying hordes surrounding him.

This video shows the cruel harassment of a Malaysian citizen whose only “crime” was to exercise his right to vote.

Accused of being a phantom voter, he persevered and was eventually able to cast his ballot despite the intimidation. Take a bow, Mr. Rameish Raman. You have my respect.

Edit 2.30pm, May 7th:

It seems there are some still questioning whether Mr Rameish is indeed Malaysian even after clarification from JPN that he was. After all, JPN, being a part of Government, is not to be trusted.

By all accounts, this incident occurred at the Taman Segar polling centre under the P.123 Cheras constituency. This is a formidable DAP fortress with the Chinese making up 84% of voters. In 2008, the incumbent Tan Kok Wai won this seat by a whopping 28,300 majority. So, it begs the question: If he were indeed a phantom voter, why would BN send him to a place like this? What could it possibly hope to achieve?


March 5, 2012

Malaysia consumes a lot of potassium chloride (KCl), also known as muriate of potash. According to data from the FAO, we consumed 1.4 million tonnes of this stuff in 2008. We use it mainly for fertiliser, but it has other uses such as in water treatment, medicine and eaten as a substitute for salt (sodium chloride).

Interesting, you may say, but what does this have to do with Lynas? Well, like everything else that contains potassium, potassium chloride is radioactive. In fact, at 16,350 bq/kg, it is actually 2.5 times more radioactive than the waste residue (about 6000 bq/kg) from the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

More radioactive than Lynas waste

More radioactive than LAMP waste

Now, it has to be said that the type of radiation that potassium-40 emits (mainly beta particles) is different from the thorium in LAMP’s feedstock and waste (alpha particles). Potassium and thorium also have different physical and chemical properties. So, we cannot get a proper picture of the kind of risk each poses by simply comparing becquerel counts. To do so involves a lot of complex calculations which I, not being a nuclear scientist, am not qualified to perform.  Thankfully, there are real nuclear scientists out there who have done the math and quantified the radioactive risk each poses under different scenarios.

For example, below is a comment from Dr. Gary H. Kramer, who is the Head of the National Internal Radiation Assessment Section at Health Canada:
“Potassium chloride can be found in large quantities in stores selling materials for water treatment. The potassium content is about 500 g kg-1. Typically, the material is sold in 20 kg bags so each bag contains ~600 kBq of 40K giving a concentration of 30 Bq g-1. This is well above the exclusion level yet the material is handled as non-radioactive. The external dose rate in close proximity to a typical display in these types of shops would be about 150 ƒÊSv hr-1. A worker would only need to be near the pile for about 7 hours to exceed the public dose limit of 1 mSv.”

In contrast the expected exposure to radiation from the Lynas plant for its workers and the general public are 2mSv/year and 0.002mSv/year respectively. In other words, sitting near this pile of KCl for 7 hours gives you about the same dose of radiation as working 6 months in LAMP or living 500 years near it.

That’s right, this stuff that we use to feed our crops and ourselves is, in terms of radioactivity at least, more hazardous than the “toxic” waste from the Lynas plant that everyone is so afraid of.

So does this mean that we have another radiation scandal on our hands? Well, no. Saying KCl is more hazardous than LAMP waste is a bit like saying travelling in trains is more dangerous than travelling in airplanes. When handled properly, both are very safe, it’s just that one is safer than the other.

Potash in a warehouse in Saskatchewan, Canada

Potash in a warehouse in Saskatchewan, Canada

Potassium chloride in a warehouse from an advert

Potassium chloride in a warehouse

In Defence of Big Dog

May 12, 2011

Zakhir Mohamad is probably one of the most reviled men in Malaysia at the moment. Following his blog posting titled “Making Christianity the official religion?”, he has been rounded on from all corners including some fellow BN leaning bloggers. Apparently, the offending part of his piece was the following :

“Amongst the interesting moments that was said during the evening do was when the 35 pastors stood in a circle and said to have taken a vow to make Christian the official religion of the Federation of Malaysia and the Prime Minister also a Christian.”

Zakhir was careful to make it clear that the information came from a third party. He was only relaying what was told to him by someone who presumably was there (judging from the accompanying photo). If he had no reason to disbelieve his source, then one can argue that it was not wrong of him to publish it.

Interestingly though, while Lim Guan Eng  and the pastors did come out with a strongly worded statement on the matter (here), their “denial” didn’t really address Zakhir’s claim at all. Read the following excerpt from their statement carefully:

1. DAP and the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng have never asked Christian Pastors to pray to seek God’s divine intervention to establish Malaysia as a Christian state or have a Christian Prime Minister.

2. Christian Pastors and Churches have always prayed for blessings for the nation, peace and well-being, unity and harmony amongst all races as well as a leadership that is honest and just.

A carefully worded denial is a ploy that politicians often use when caught in sticky situations. They would issue a denial for something that they were never accused of doing, but close enough  to the actual accusation to give the impression that they were indeed innocent. That way, they would not technically be lying. And if their ruse fails and the truth of their guilt did come out, they could at least say, “Ah, but I never said I didn’t do it”.

It may be true that the DAP did not ask the pastors to pray for a Christian Malaysia, but this isn’t what Zakhir and Utusan said they did, is it? What they said was that the DAP had organized the gathering, during which the pastors pledged or prayed to make Malaysia a Christian country. See the difference? Nobody said anything about “asking”.

Why didn’t the pastors just come out and say categorically that they did not make that particular prayer or pledge? Wouldn’t that have been simpler and more convincing? The wording of the statement gives the impression that they do have something to hide. So, let’s not be so quick to vilify. The DAP’s dubious non-denial suggests that there may be something to Zakhir’s story yet. Stay calm and let the authorities investigate and hopefully we will know the truth soon enough.

In any case, assuming that this pledge or prayer really did take place (I’m not saying that it did, mind), is there any reason for Muslims to be concerned? People pray for things they know can never happen all the time. To most of us, what these pastors were praying for or pledging to do may just be pie in the sky. After all, currently less than 10% of Malaysians are Christian. But is a Christian Malaysia some time in the future really so far-fetched? Perhaps we should learn from the experience of our brothers and sisters in Indonesia. This article from Time Magazine might be an eye opener for some – Christianity’s Surge in Indonesia.

No Conclusive Clinical Findings…

February 15, 2010

The defence in the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial is appealing to have the charges quashed. They say that 2 different physical examinations of the alleged victim found no evidence of penetration of the anus. Without this, they argue, DNA analysis, witness testimony or other evidence should not even be considered. In their submission, they say:

  1. “no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus/rectum.”.
  2. “It is the conclusion based on what was found by three doctors that there was no penetration”.

One does not need to have an English degree to know that these sentences do not mean the same thing. To say that there were no conclusive findings of penetration is not the same as saying that the findings were conclusive that penetration did not happen. Yet, this is what the defence wants the court to accept.

So, if a doctor’s examination finds no physical sign of penetration, does that mean that penetration could not have happened? Certainly, this is what the the defence wants people to think. But is this really the case? A quick trawl of Google Books finds the following:

“Even during examination of the female genitalia immediately after rape, there is identifiable damage in less than 50 per cent of the cases. Anal examination of males and females after anal rape shows lesions in less than 30 per cent of cases.
Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, United Nations

“Violent sexual acts (e.g., forced vaginal intercourse, oral penetration, or anal penetration) may or may not cause physical or anogenital injuries. A negative examination does not imply that sexual assault did not occur.
Forensic emergency medicine, By Jonathan S. Olshaker

In about 50% of cases, there might be no physical signs after acute anal penetration
APLS : the pediatric emergency medicine esource, by Marianne Gausche-Hill, Susan Fuchs, Loren Yamamoto, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians

“Genital trauma is common in victims of sexual assault, occuring in 68% of all patients and is more commonly observed than injury associated with complaints of sodomy (56%).”
Obstetrics and Gynecology Review 1998, By H. H. Sheld

“Very frequently, abused children will not have specific findings that support the diagnosis. Between 30% and 50% of children who are victims of sexual abuse have normal vulvar findings. Between 65% and 85% of children with anal penetration will have a normal perineum when examined.”
Gynecology in Primary Care, by Roger Perry Smith

It is clear what the expert consensus is. In many genuine cases of anal rape, a physical examination of the victim will not yield any evidence of injury or other signs. A decision in favour of the appeal would set a precedent that would have devastating consequences for rape victims in the future.