Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting Malaysians to Register as Voters

I spent about 3 hours on Saturday as a volunter with the Johor People's Action Group to help voters register and change address.
It was an interesting experience and the first time I got involved with part of the electoral process.
What was even more interesting were the different responses as I approached adults with a multi-lingual placard with the query "Have you registered as a voter?"

Some folks responded , "Yes" and gave a friendly smile - a minority.
Some said "No" and just walked off.
Many were too busy and waved me away.
A few were Singaporeans and said so but a few also did not want to disclose they had come to shop in JB. Scared of being targetted?
The site was at Sutera Mall, a popular shopping centre for Singaporeans.

The work was a little tiring unless you limited your approach and became selective but my style was to approach anyone and everyone.
I managed to get 6 to 10 persons to the table where the registration process could be completed. Maybe I will also attend training to become a polling agent.
Let's see how it goes.
There was also a registration exercise by the SPR in Taman Daya's EconMart on Sunday (for double pay?) but the approach was so low-key I wonder how many people registered.
There was the standard sign informing shoppers but it was not easy to find the officials as they placed the table in such a position that most shoppers would not notice them and also the 3 middle-aged civil servants were all seated at the table and no one approached any of the shopers.
I guess that is the basic difference between work done by civil servants and that done by an NGO.
I wonder if the SPR offers any incentives to staff to register more voters or is it just based on time spent on the job?

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