Nowadays election contests are keenly watched and betted upon like footballs and other competitive sports! During nomination days and closer to the polling day scores of people outside the election areas camp around the ceramahs and various political functions to catch some excitement of the election fever. Other than inflating the local goods and services-benifitting the local sellers but squeezing the local buyers, what impact can these election tourists make?
Their presence have not produced more credible or free and fair elections. The most the tourists do are as other tourists would: take some photos-may be with their hard-to-see-other-times political stars, chat/boast/blog about them etc. Their side effects: jam up the traffic in the local areas-as seen by the highway traffic which did not ease off up to 5.00pm, after the nomination day at Bkt Gantang!
That can change drastically if they attend a 2-hour election observation training by Mafrel.
The training teach the observers to take a wholistic view of elections-so you know where to look for good & bad practices. Just like getting to know the tricks in sports. Then you are provided with legal and other yardsticks to judge the performance of various players as well as all stake holders in the election contests. It is like how you judge the performance of the football players or gymnastics, as well as if the referee are doing the right things!
Then after you make up your minds you start to record/document the evidences of your judgments. Such records based on informed judgements and views are what make the most significant difference between a casual election tourists and a trained expert observer!
The impact: the documented evidences are what it takes to improve the `game’/ elections!
We don’t see mentally stimulating debates in Malaysian elections. We don’t get to ask intelligent questions to the candidates-at most they lecture you in ceramahs-all 1-way traffic. We can’t get to ask them direct questions-even by a stroke of good luck the candidate may mistaken you as a local voter, in the 30 second encounter!
The documented evidences-whether in the forms of signed witness accounts, photos or videos, of the election will leave impact on future elections as they can be cited for pressuring the authorities for positive change! And already there are some examples of successes in Mafrel’s observation work. More and more general public are joining in as casual /part-time as well as almost full time observers, taking part and making their contribution in local elections as well as international ones!
Currently there are 33 observers in Batang Ai, 50 in Bkt Gantang and 30 in Bkt Selambau.
In Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and many other countries they come voluntarily in the hundred of thousands-for many years now! No one can stop them! They are a force to stay-to ensure the democratic contest live up to its name and the `audience’ are ready to boo any side should there be any foul plays!
If you are interested to join the voluntary observation teams in the 3 by-elections now you can contact us at
017-4710930(Mohd Fesal-Bkt Selambau)
012-5222664(Megat Shariffudin-Bkt Gantang)
013-8950929(Peter John Jaban -Batang Ai)
There are still plenty of rooms for volunteers at the operation centres of the 3 areas-though accommodation is usually hard to find when polling day come closer!