Article was first published in The Malaysian Insider, by Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, on 19 March 2011.
Mar 19, 2011 KUALA LUMPUR, – LoyarBurok (LB), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), today launched its centre for constitutionalism and human rights office which, it said, will act as a launch pad for its voter education drive.
Its co-founder Shanmuga K said the office will act as a centre to create awareness on voter’s rights.
He also said LB wanted to educate voters on the issues facing the community through this pilot project called Undi Malaysia, set to begin in May.
“We want to do it in a non-political and non-partisan way. We just want say that these are the issues so next time when the election comes, don’t just look at the personality but ask them the questions that are important to you,” he added.
He said its voter education drive would concentrate mainly on young voters as most of the readers of the LB website are from that generation.
However, he admitted that online outreach was limited to Internet connectivity.
“Online media is only where there is Internet connection which is very low. This is why we are doing something from a fixed location which is supposed to go out to the whole country. Ultimately we want to empower the voters so that they will make up their own mind,” he said.
Edmund Bon, a fellow co-founder, agreed that LB was still exploring different methods to reach out to the rural community.
“We would need to talk to village and community leaders. We have to work with everyone. We cannot just go down there and give information and assume that they will just accept. That is why it will be a long drawn-out process so we will continue consulting. It will not be a quick fix,” he said.
Shanmuga (sic) said the project was not created because of the upcoming general election but was a long-term plan for the future.
LB started as a website in 2005 by six lawyers and focused on constitutional issues but Shanmuga (sic) stressed that the group has expanded to include non-lawyer members.
He denied that the LB is pro-opposition.
“When you do human rights work you criticise the government. Obviously because the government is the one that is doing the thing is wrong. It is just that current government is BN but we have also criticised the Selangor government.”
“We mainly do it according to the issues and on the basis on how the law ought to be according to our view,” he said.