A few good questions were raised yesterday as we were doing our rounds to the various operation centres to distribute our call-cards and the daily reports concerning complaints lodged against the various parties. In one of the UMNO operation centres, the representative asked us what we will do with the complaints lodged. He further queried the rationale of lodging complaints with us when they can go directly to the police.
So what does MAFREL do with the complaints lodged? And why lodge complaints with us?
When we consider a complaint as legitimate and have substantial evidence, we will compile them into our daily report which will then be uploaded to the MAFREL blog to raise public awareness that such violations and irregularities have been reported. In the same daily report, we will also generate a Daily Election Index (DEI) to track quantitatively the amount of complaints lodged and the changes against its daily average – this is to give a more precise picture of the grouses and dissatisfaction of the people as the election progresses.
Then, we will put these reports into printed form and present them to the parties concerned as we will like to hear from all sides when a complaint is lodged. While we do not compel the parties to respond to the complaints, we strongly encourage them to take a serious look at the reports and if need be respond to the issues raised against them. All such responses will also be updated in our website to inform the public.
Where there are relevant complaints (for example, the ones related to violence or irregularities in the electoral roll), we will bring them to the attention of the police/SPR. However, we also have certain types of complaints against the police/SPR themselves and MAFREL provides a non-partisan avenue for all such complaints to be lodged. To date, we have already accumulated 5 complaints against the police/SPR.
There was another UMNO representative in a different operation centre who confused us with SPR. We are actually an independent body that has received accreditation from SPR to monitor and observe this by-election. The range of our work is broad and we try to complement the work of SPR wherever possible. At the moment, we are very focussed on monitoring the on-going campaign. Hopefully, with more volunteers trickling-in the next few days, we can also do some media monitoring and highlight the larger issues pertaining to a free and fair election. Our longer-term goal is to generate more discussions and arrive at a clearer definition/consensus of what constitutes a free and fair election in the Malaysian context.
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