Monday, November 17, 2008

The Supply Curve and the Pemuda Race

The ketua pemuda race.

Strangely, the current ketua pemuda, Hishamudin Hussein (HH) has not displayed his hands. Who does he prefer to succeed him? His Sembrong Pemuda division of course nominated KJ. If KJ’s people insist that nominations do not necessarily translate into actual votes, we will likewise, hold our judgment on the nomination by Sembrong.

HH may have instructed his Pemuda to nominate KJ. That was a most civil thing to do. How can you not support your own deputy? Possibly it was just a face saving gesture. HH could not afford to be seen to backstab KJ when he must grudgingly acknowledged the young man has slaved and slogged for Pemuda during the 4 years as deputy Pemuda Chief. Where KJ was here, there and everywhere, HH, like the male lion in the pride, sauntered in to grace the finishing touches. No big deal.

Can KJ trust HH? Sakmongkol thinks not. Better not. HH’s preference for KJ is proportionate to the tenure of Pak Lah. While Pak Lah stays in power, HH will play the poodle lapping up everything that Pak Lah says.

KJ must face the reality, that HH will seek the first chance to settle old scores. What old scores? Whether one likes it or not, for the 4 years deputising for HH, KJ has overshadowed the ever grinning Pemuda chief Jock. Measure it any way you want- articulation, mental capacity, bravado, fighting spirit- KJ outshines HH in every department. Now that Pak Lah is leaving on a jet plane and wont be back again, HH will play, see no evil, here no evil routine. By refusing to endorse an open debate, would have reveal a few things to KJ. He cannot count on HH.

Who will win the race? If it was a sprint, maybe Muhriz could have been the winner. Now that the race has turned into a marathon, winning requires different set of skills and techniques. You cant sprint in a marathon. You will drop off dead. A marathon man requires stamina. Now, stamina is a generic term. It can mean physical stamina. Khir Toyo can consume a lot of tempe reputed to be high in protein from which he can develop muscles and cardio vascular strength. Muhkriz can rely on his own source of strength, that will include his fortune of not holding any public office before and therefore relatively immune from criticisms. KJ can do likewise. He has a track record as deputy, but he is also burdened with a perception of unofficially holding public office and therefore susceptible to more criticisms. Of course, as will be obvious in the coming months, lots of money will be involved.

Sakmongkol can put it in other terms. Mukhriz who has no record of holding public office is an angel we don’t know. KT and KJ had official and unofficial public offices and are therefore the devil we know. Who do you trust? Sakmongkol will want to trust the devil we know. On these terms, the race will actually be between KT and KJ, notwithstanding the number of nominations received by MM.

Can we make anything of the number of nominations? The rate of their increase? Perhaps, the number of nominations as they say in statistics and econometrics, are spurious. The nominations received by KJ so far have been steady, growing at a rate around 30-32% and capturing similar magnitude of 27-29% share of nominations. Statistically, the nominations by Mukhriz appeared to be troubling because they suffer from random disturbances- experiencing volatile variations. His nominations grew at the rate of 43% and suddenly dropped to 10% in the 3rd week. His initial burst in speed would fit very well, if the race were a sprint. KT’s nominations on the other hand, started at a slower pace in the initial stages and then escalated in the later stages. . .

What can we deduce from these trends? Mukhriz has not been able to sustain his consistency. Why? His initial bursts may be attributed to the fact the early nominations came from Mukhriz-friendly bahagians. Therefore his nominations cannot be treated as conclusive. Contrast Mukhriz’s performance to that of KT, the former Selangor MB. Khir enjoyed spectacular increase in the later stages precisely when MM’s fortunes were tapering down.

How do we account for this reversal of fortunes of the two men? Let us introduce the factor of MONEY. How can we use money to explain the fall and the rise of Mukhriz and KT respectively? People! Please remember, sakmomngkol is using a hypothetical variable here- MONEY.

Assume the law of economics is working here. Supply increases directly to increases in price. Convert the nominations received by both MM and KT as positions of the upward sloping supply curves. Then, the lower location of MM on the upward sloping supply curve would suggest, that the supply of nominations he received, were compatible with lower prices. Or in simple terms, less money is offered and so supply of nominations is correspondingly slowed.

On the other hand, KT appears to occupy a higher location on the upward supply curve, over the same period. This would then suggest, the higher supply of nominations KT received can only be induced by higher prices. Which means, more money is offered.

KJ on the other hand, seems to occupy a more or less stationary position on the supply curve. Which means, the price associated with the supply of nominations accruing to him, remains consistent.

Which means what? Assuming money is used by all 3 contestants, we can make the following observations- not empirically verified of course.
1. In the initial stages, MM used more money than all the other contenders.
2. In the later stages, KT used more money than MM and was able to overtake MM’s rate of increase in supply of nominations
3. KJ used money too- but his usage, over the period in question, is not as much as the other two contestants.

The above hypotheses, would solve the mystery of who actually used more money in the race. The more important observation will be, a marathon race favours consistency. MM and KT’s nominations exhibited erratic behaviours while KJ’s showing is steady and consistent. Like Sakmongkol says, a marathon race is usually won by a consistent pacer who speeds towards the end.

But people, supporters of Mukhriz, Khir Toyo and KJ, don’t read too much into Sakmongkol’s flight of fancy.


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