Missed the Boat? (photo: flickr.com)
If you have not yet registered as voters, cannot go back to your constituency to vote or do not think your vote will make a difference in your constituency, but you still want to do your part to clean-up politics at this once-in-five-years chance, here is the list of 14 civil society groups (in three categories) you may want to help out and six independent/alternative media you may want to support.
1. Candidacy (sponsoring candidates)
Women’s Candidacy Initiative 2 (WCI2)
Status: They are still campaigning but unfortunately not fielding candidates for circumstantial reasons.
Contact: “Maria Abdullah” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(a) Polling Monitoring
Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (MAFREL)
Status: Accredited by the EC, MAFREL is monitoring the elections in about 50 constituencies. Volunteers are needed in selected constituencies for the polling day itself.
Contact： Syed Ibrahim (tel: 0133682067; email: email@example.com)
(b) Media Reporting
Charter2000-Aliran; Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ); Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
Status: The monitoring has started but more monitors are needed. Even if you are overseas, you can still help monitoring online news or blogs.
Contact: (tel) +60 4 6585251(Aliran) 03-4023 0772 (CIJ);
(c) Advertisement Expense
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M)
Status: Print advertisement will begin on this Sunday. Television advertisement may begin on Wednesday, subject to technicality. An daily index indicating how much the parties have spent out of the total allowable by their candidates will be published the next day. Volunteers are needed for both print and television (requiring TV and recorder at home) monitoring.
Contact: Tel: 6 03 – 2284 0630/50
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH)
Status: BERSIH is now collecting signature for the setting up of a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform (RCER) after the elections to study how to overhaul the entire electoral process and system as well as to investigate any wrongdoing. You can help get signature from your families and friends.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Malaysian Voter Union (MALVU)
Status: It is working together with MAFREL on polling monitoring. They also have a website with rich information on elections and voter education.
Contact: Ong Boon Keong (tel: 013-5900339; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Citizen Think Tank (CTT)
Status: You can help disseminating information for the size of “knowledge-empowered citizens” to grow.
Youth for Change (Y4c)
Status: They will organize exposure trip to hot constituencies in Klang Valley: Gombak (P), Batu Caves (S) and Rawang (S). They have just launched Youth Agenda for Change (YAC). Volunteers are badly needed in documentation and translation.
Contact: Lee Khai Loon 013-397 0519; email@example.com; Chua Yee Ling 012-735 5025; firstname.lastname@example.org
Status: Led by human rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim, these blog-borne activists are spreading the messages for change on the ground. Their previous and current projects include “Know Your MP”, “Get an MP”, “Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia”, “Hartal: Boycott the Newspapers” and “People’s Declaration. They definitely need more volunteers both on-line and off-line.
Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI-Parliament)
Status: The group is pushing candidates to sign up to their mission statement and a concrete list of private members’ bills to table in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies in 2008 and 2009. You can help spread the idea of imaginative changes and also seek the commitments of the candidates in your constituency.
Contact: Wong Chin Huat <email@example.com>; “Maria Abdullah” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Gayathry V” <email@example.com>.
Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS)
Status: This think tank does rigourous policy analyses, which are necessary for voters’ informed decisions. You can help disseminating information to make smarter bosses.
Concerned Citizens of Johor
Status: This group think that the BN’s monopoly is the root cause of problems plaguing the southernmost state from floods to crime. They have launched a statement titled “Save Johor, Vote Opposition.” Volunteers – especially from Johor – are needed for producing, translating and disseminating messages.
4. Independent News and Alternative Views
Malaysiakini.com (English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil)
Malaysia-today.net (English, Malay)
Bettermalaysia.com (English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil)
***This idea of compiling a comprehensive list of all election-related efforts for all interested individuals and groups comes from Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam of Transparency International.