Hi prospective observers to Penanti by-election!
There will be a 1st meeting for all potential Penanti observers coming up this saturday evening (May 9th)at a location near to the constituency, to be decided soonest. Anyone interested please call our Penanti Coordinator Jamaluddin 019-4744220, or myself, Ong 013-5900339.
Why be an election tourist when you can be an expert election observer?
The observation mission this time aim, among others, to turn as many as possible the `election tourists’ (general terms of people who will visit the by-election area for any reasons at all) into trained election observers who can make an impact simply by documenting what irregularities they see and pool them for all to use/see/share. With this big pool of `eyes and ears’ MAFREL will make this by-election, unique in many ways, into the most intensely monitored election ever. See if any election fraudster would try their hand here-when they are eg abuse government vehicles, giving away inducement to voters, with literally 100 cameras trained on their face! Let’s see what observers’ power can get us to improve the election practices here!
In the past politicians survive simply by thick skin-just carry on votes frauds and pretend nothing is happening-and the mainstream media can be counted on to pretend they don’t know votes buying is going on in front of their eyes and cameras!
To compare how this observers power measure up to the media power: the biggest media outlet may send 4-8 reporters/camera crews to cover a by-election. But we have easily 50-100 observers! A lot more are possible! This is especially true on the polling day where we are out on full force.
Wait a minute : how do you compare with party people who also have hundreds or even thousands on the ground? Well, observers don’t have to compare to party workers for a few good reasons:
1. They have their work to do-observers have our work to do. They are campaigning-we are observing the campaign. Quite different jobs;
2.In terms of information they may give you information according to their selection eg bad news about their opponents and good news about themselves. For observers-we zoom in on all bad and good news for all parties. Take your pick to see who give better quality and angle of information.
3. A lot of mismanagement or under management of party workers is happening on both/more sides-so many party workers are floating without clear instruction/duties. Some also just show their face to their higher ups-and go on to do their own things/agendas.
So party workers and observers are 2 players /stakes holders-but play different roles, though involved in the same election.But there are many cross overs-there are observers who cross over to become party campaigners, and vice versa. No harm if they know what they do when they wear a particular hat!
We are also not comparable to the police and their SB in terms of strength(numbering at least 1000, depending on situation), currently. But this can change if observers really get organised/trained this time. We can outnumber them-as shown in election observation missions in our regional neighbours(Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines) where over 100 000 observers turn up at their general elections, for many years now!
Certainly there are some good tricks for us to learn from them to turn observers powers to where it is most needed: to press for free and fair elections from the current unsatisfactory status quo!
Let’s see how observers power, when realised in its true scale and dimensions, will translate into for free and fair elections!
If your mind is starting to turn to imagine what the observers power can do -join us on coming sat!
How you can join? You are welcome to join in all your convenience: drop in for half a day or a few more days; help staff the operation center full time; can’t come but help to monitor media from where you are etc etc. Or give some good ideas/contacts/donations/equipments/means of publicity eg if you can help to put a small ads in your own community or club newsletter or blog, provide some training eg in video/camera work;do some graphic design, t-shirts etc etc. All are possible. All are welcome.
What you get? Bottom line question: you get full training-as far as you want to go! But at the end of the day: you are still a proud volunteer like all of us. You are repaid with your achievement to make the big bro give respect to the small citizens.
No we are not totally ignoring your welfare: we will have a operation center with accommodation service. If there are many more coming we can locate even more accommodation. Penanti people are very friendly and hospital-as we fond out in our last outing here when we observed Permatnag Pauh by-election last year.
What it takes to trun from an election tourist to an election observer?
Training. Basic training is only 2-3 hours.
Looking forward to seeing you all-whether physically on sat-or in blogosphere or anywhere.