Barring unforeseen circumstances on Monday the observation of Penanti by-election is coming up! With a small voters population at 15 000, there are only 10 polling centres/schools to be observed. It would be seemingly an easy task-especially considering that there were about 200 observers at the Permatang Pauh by-election(incorporating 3 state constituencies-including Penanti, less than 1 year ago (August). There are however a number of possiblities of approach to the observation mission which can make it quite exciting:
1. Since there is little obstacle to fill up all the vacancies of observers for the 10 polling centres (2 each observers mean only 20 observers needed inside, then 2 each outside mean another 20 observers needed outside, making a total of 40 observers needed) the target could be to convert -for the first time, as many as possible the expected `election tourists’ into trained election observers! We can even have teach-in sessions for these potential eyes and ears of Mafrel so that the entire visiting crowd become our voluntary observers squad! This will be a challenge for Mafrel! So anyone interested to book a place for the training please email us.
2. Another challenge is how to put this big squad of observers into action so that they realise the power of observers especialy vis-a-vis the media. The media are professionally trained to report-but they can hardly afford to send staff to the election-may be 4-6 usually. But we already are looking at 40 observers cum potential reporters at the minimum! We could have even more! To convert this power in number into a reporting prowess we need to strengthen our reporting training-ensure everyone has a camera and a way to connect to the operation centre. If we succeed this is 1 time where the observers will keep the every move of the `Big Brother’ under close scrutiny! Feel the power of number-let the people rule!
3. Now the more exciting bit: other than doing the reporting it will be time to exercise some power to ensure free and fair election! How? Mafrel will tell you all about it at our training! Some giveaways: you will be briefed thoroughly on what is right and wrong of the conduct of an election-from all angles-legal, practical, personal etc. Some tips on what you can do legally to affect citizens’ action to bring about `correction’ to the corrupted system!
Now that you get excited: just call/contact us to sign up your Election Observers Course! The best thing in life is free-so we keep to be the best and offer this for free! If you keep coming we will train as many observers as possible -till we drop if it need be!It will incorporate some training ala Citizens Journalism, KL FREEZE, live blogging, podcasting etc. Make this by-election the most live-blogged election ever! Let the bloggers power keep the election clean!
Qualification: you do need to an eligible voter to be an SPR accredited observer, though! Go register if you haven’t done so! For outside(of the polling centres) observers this qualification does not apply.