By Meena Lakshana for The Malay Mail on 9 April 2012.

PETALING JAYA: Results of the first report card on elected representatives, the Laporan Rakyat project, will be released this month.

UndiMsia community mover Lim Ka Ea told The Malay Mail that the results were originally expected to be released last month but they were delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.

“We faced some challenges in persuading people to fill out the scorecards. It had mainly to do with the fact that they were wary of us and don’t know the purpose of the scorecards.”

Laporan Rakyat is a pilot project by UndiMsia, a education to promote greater participation by young Malaysians in the democratic process, and the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS).

The Hulu Langat constituency was picked for the maiden effort.

Lim said the constituents there had to be assured the effort was independent.

“They wondered if it was politically motivated, so we had to explain to them what we really do and that the exercise is anonymous. This took a lot of time.”

She said UndiMsia had so far obtained 200 scorecards, short of the 500 targeted for the report, but they were sufficient for the purpose.

Human rights lawyer Edmund Bon, an UndiMsia proponent, said Hulu Langat was selected as it was the closest reflection of the national demographic breakdown of voters — 52.7 per cent Malays, 36.2 per cent Chinese and 10.6 per cent Indians.

The constituency has a parliamentary seat held by PAS’s Che Rosli Che Mat and state seats held by Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Ismail Sani (Dusun Tua), Johan Aziz (BN-Semenyih) and Lee Kim Sin (PKR-Kajang).

CPPS chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said they were ambitious in targeting 500 scorecards for the maiden effort.

“There is a lot of guardedness from the constituents. Now we understand, as this is the first time, it takes time for people to have a good understanding of the project.”

He said the constituents’ cautiousness was understandable as they were usually approached by politicians or pressure groups besides low exposure to the media.

“Some of them also suffered from disillusionment as some election promises made by politicians were not delivered. So there is some caution. They cannot understand some people can be motivated by ideals.”

On the 200 scorecards, he said it was a “pretty good sample” and would definitely show some trends among the Hulu Langat constituents.

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) is a non-profit based in Kuala Lumpur with the mission of promoting active democratic participation and human rights awareness.