Is our private data really private?

In the middle of last month, I received a phone call from a so-called “Institut Minda Selangor”, which was doing a poll to gauge support for Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat/Harapan state government.

Now, one would think there would be no problem with just answering a few questions and submitting to a poll, but this is different.

Some details – the phone number I have is a prepaid SIM card purchased from Maxis by my younger brother as a birthday present ages ago. In fact, it could have been close to seven or eight years ago.

And thus, he registered it under his name. It works just fine, other than the fact that the whole “birthday treat” comes in August and confuses me once a year – it’s a good reminder though.

Thus, when the pollster calls up and mentions my brother’s name instead of my own, we do have a problem. You see, only three people would know that this phone number of mine is registered under my brother’s name – myself, my brother, and the telco itself.

So, where would the pollster have gotten the information?

I decided to take this case to Facebook, and as such, the telco provider has given feedback that their system is secure without a breach. However, they couldn’t provide an answer as to how the pollster could have gotten the details known only to three parties, two of which are pretty much secure and would never reveal that information.

Thus, at this point, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that someone is leaking phone numbers, private information, to pollsters. As to who is doing it, perhaps it can be found out by finding the pollsters since telcos are all convincing that their data handling – from initial registration of buying a SIM card from a kedai runcit or even 7-Eleven, is secure and without a leak.

To those who got the same phone call, perhaps it is time to take note that your data has been sold off to would be pollsters, promoters, and maybe even fraudsters, and perhaps it is time to think about where they got it from.

List of items to be applied GST

Items to be removed from the Zero Rated GST Schedule

Tariff Code Item
0301.92.00 Eels (Live)
0302.47.00 Swordfish (Fresh or Chilled)
0302.74.00 Eels (Fresh or Chilled)
0303.26.00 Eels (Frozen)
0303.57.00 Swordfish (Frozen)
0304.45.00 Swordfish Fillets (Fresh, Chilled or Frozen)
0304.54.00 Swordfish
0304.84.00 Swordfish
0304.91.00 Swordfish
0307.51 Octopus (Live)
0307.51.10 ?
0307.51.20 ?
0307.52.00 ?
0307.59 Octopus
0307.59.20 ?
0709.99.10 Sweet corn (fresh or chilled)
07.10 Vegetables (Frozen)
0710.10.00 Potatoes (Frozen)
0710.21.00 Peas (Frozen)
0710.22.00 Beans (Frozen)
0710.29.00 Others (Frozen)
0710.30.00 Spinach (Frozen)
0710.40.00 Sweet Corn (Frozen)
0710.80.00 Other Vegetables (Frozen)
0710.90.00 Mixed Vegetables (Frozen)
07.11 Vegetables (Frozen)
0711.20 Olives
0711.20.90 Olives in Brine
0711.40 Cucumber and Gherkins
0711.40.90 Cucumber and Gherkins in Brine
0711.51 Mushrooms
0711.51.90 Mushrooms (Agaricus) in Brine
0711.59 Other Mushrooms
0711.59.90 Other Mushrooms in Brine
0711.90 Other vegetables/mixed vegetables in Brine
0711.90.10 Sweet Corn in Brine
0711.90.20 Chillies
0711.90.30 ?
0711.90.90 ?
0804.10.00 Fresh dates
0804.20.00 Fresh figs
0804.40.00 Fresh avocado
08.06 Grapes (fresh or dried)
0806.10.00 Fresh grapes
08.09 Apricots, cherries, peaches (including nectarines), plums and sloes, fresh
0809.10.00 Apricots
0809.21.00 Sour cherries
0809.29.00 Other cherries
0809.30.00 Peaches including nectarines
0809.40 Plums and Sloes
0809.40.10 Plums
0809.40.20 Sloes
0902.10 Green tea in immediate packings
0902.10.10 ?
0902.10.90 ?
0902.20 Other green tea
0902.20.10 ?
0902.20.90 ?
0910.20.00 Saffron
0910.99 Other spices
0910.99.10 ?
9010.99.90 ?
1517.90.61 Margarine
1517.90.67 ?

On the Big Gay Iftar

Seems the brickbats are out for the hosting of the Big Gay Iftar by the Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative (Pelangi) which took place last week.

Before I say more, let me just point out a few things – I am gay. I have been officially out since 2008 (you can find that piece in The Star) and even came out again in 2010. Thus, I do have a bias when it comes to attending events such as this one.

The idea for a Big Gay Iftar, in itself, is not original. In the UK, it is hosted annually in London, and for 2017 will be on June 17. It is when the Islamic community in London have an iftar event for the LGBTQ+ community, and this year it apparently takes place in a churchtakes place in a church.

Continue reading “On the Big Gay Iftar”

On “gender confusion” and homosexuality

On “gender confusion” and homosexuality

By Hafidz Baharom

I honestly didn’t want to write on this topic, but it seems that Malaysia is backtracking on whatever progress it has made towards understanding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community thus far.

It started with the fact that a non-government individual shared a picture of a Jakim roadshow planning to head to each and every public university to espouse the evil that is the so-called LGBT agenda a while back.

The fellow also shared a slideshow by one imam who said that LGBTs were caused psychologically and environmentally – something that even a UK Liberal Democrat candidate has said was due to hormones in tap water.  Continue reading “On “gender confusion” and homosexuality”

Hannah Yeoh and Christianity

This column was published Sunday May 21, 2017, on The Malaysian Insight

I’M actually surprised Hannah Yeoh is getting into trouble for talking about her devout Christianity. I remember watching her Facebook video where she talks of referring to the Bible to settle family arguments, during the 2013 campaign or earlier.

But the flak she is getting over her book is this; if anyone who reads her book is a Muslim, it is a constitutional breach because some consider it propagation. Yet at the same time, if those who read her book are non-Muslim, it’s fine. Continue reading “Hannah Yeoh and Christianity”

Thoughts on green energy

When we talk about renewable energies and a green future, what pops up in your mind? Is it the wind energy farms that cluster the countryside?

Or maybe we are talking about solar panels on multiple buildings and public facilities, perhaps even the rooftop of KL Sentral station, similar to what one would see on Blackfriars station in London?

Do we see people sorting their trash according to what can be recycled? Maybe even looking towards product packaging which is easily recycled?

Do we see people sorting their waste in restaurants, at a local Starbucks, where plastic cups are emptied of liquids similar to what you will find in a Pret A Manger?

What about food, for that matter? Do we see a boycotting of restaurants that waste too much, a fine for those who waste too much, even during the upcoming Ramadhan buffets?

Do we see ourselves becoming like the Swiss, where each garbage bag of trash requires a sticker that will be attached to a cost paid to local councils? Continue reading “Thoughts on green energy”

On Thaqif, and why kids will still suffer

I heard what happened to young Thaqif, and quite honestly I was totally indifferent. It may seem cold hearted, but in retrospect I believe that this wasn’t something new.
I am well aware that my sexual orientation would mean me never having a biological child of my own, or even the laws of this land not allowing me to adopt. I will never know the tiresome act of parenting while trying to earn enough to get by on a day-to day-basis.  Continue reading “On Thaqif, and why kids will still suffer”

Some updates

Yep, I’m now a columnist with theSun. Every Monday. The latest piece talks about education and racism, which alludes to the lack of multicultural unity as well as our own initiated racial segregation based on class and chasing merit.

But what do I know. I just write and read. 😛

Have a read on it here.

Taking religion to the skies?

A recent news piece highlighted yet again how far religion is used as a marketing tool – this time, learning to read the Koran in a private jet for RM33,000 an hour. 
Of course, those paying attention to social media may have seen yet another one – the ability to hire someone to read your personal prayer in Mecca – a doa valet. 
First off, how on earth are these people running a business without the interference of religious authorities is a mystery to me. 
I mean, here are the guys who have raided drag queen beauty pageants, hotels, bars, even restaurant during the fasting month of Ramadhan. 
It’s the same bunch who have a problem with “pretzel dogs” and even “root beer”.
And yet, plutocratic classes for learning the Koran and even a hired service for prayers is – acceptable, perhaps? Not as worrisome? 
Allowed with justified altruistic goals for heavenly benefit, maybe?
I’ve got to ask. How is it that the religious authorities, with a federal budget this year of RM880 million, are allowing such things to go through?
Don’t these things require necessary oversight from Jakim, if not state religious authorities?
Perhaps this is something Jakim should look into, any business which uses a religious connotation requires a license and oversight from Jakim itself. 
After all, they already do it with halal food products and sharia certified services like the KTM Komuter trains. 
Let’s face it, there are gullible Malay Malaysians who are falling for religious advertising of dubious services and products. 
And Islam, believe it or not, is in fact being used as a marketing tool by individuals trying to make a profit in the market. 
Thus, what can authorities and consumers do? Who can they report these con jobs to?
Of course, there is the Muslim Consumers Association, for one. They were the ones who asked for a ‘pig logo’ on the pig bristle brushes. 
But who is in charge and with the authority to take action against, let’s say, the mineral water company who advertises having the entire Koran read before its packing?
Or the chicken which advertises something similar? Or the eggs advertising that it comes from a single couple of cock and hen, and not a result of poultry promiscuity?
Shouldn’t we have a bill of law to take care of those using religion fraudulently?
And also, can we have a new law to punish the Malaysians who fall for all of these either out of stupidity or even desperation?
Perhaps an ankle bracelet and the need to attend mosques every night to actually learn the religion and not fall prey to totally warped advertising?
Either way, this needs to be dealt with swiftly and as a means to stop ruining a beautiful religion from total ridicule. 
If the Malaysian government is serious in its goal to have moral authority on its books, then these need to be dealt with swiftly. 

Federalising Penang is political

Federalising Penang is political
By Hafidz Baharom
To understand the recent idea to federalise Penang, I would have to take you back to the Malaysian timeline. 
It has nothing to do with “helping all races”. The move to federalise Penang is an old school Umno tactic to deny administering a state by the DAP. 
And it did not start with this new idea of making Penang a federal territory. 
It started, all the way back to 1969, all towards 1974. 
See, in the 1969 general election, the DAP almost took control of Selangor state, which led to the 13 May incident. 
I know, this has been played to death and even used for political ammo, but one of the larger effects was the need to keep Selangor under “Malay” (read:Umno) control. 
This was achieved by carving out Kuala Lumpur from Selangor by 1 February 1974, and making it a the first Federal Territory. 
Of course, they used the excuse of wanting to make it stand out in the world. 
And in August/September 1974, they held the first election after the state of emergency. Selangor no longer saw a DAP threat to run the state, since Kuala Lumpur and all its seats were no longer affecting who would run the state. 
What happened in Selangor, the federalising of territories, is what is being done to Penang even now, in order to stop the DAP from continuing its victory streak in Penang and running it as a state government. 
I’m actually surprised nobody has yet to bring it up. Maybe it’s the racist tinge of the issue, maybe it’s the reminder of May 13, or maybe it’s the fact that nobody wishes to see it as so. 
But there it is. 
There. I’ve said it. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.