Sabahans to learn from Philippines how to observe polls


KOTA KINABALU: Two Sabahans of the Sabah chapter of Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) will be in Manila for four days starting tomorrow, holding discussions and sharing notes with the world-renowned NAMFREL (National Citizen’s for Free Election), in relation to the coming Malaysian general election.

Chairman of Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo, Kanul Gindol, and Jerry Ombou, both Mafrel volunteers, would learn from the Philippines’ experience in election observatory works of which NAMFREL is known to have been doing since early 1980’s soon after it was incepted in 1983.

This initiative should be empowering the future polls observation works, especially in Sabah, particularly during campaigning and polling period.

Ensuring a fair and free election is the utmost priority of Mafrel too and thus why the duo came up with this self-funded study trip.

While in Manila, Kanul and Jerry would also have separate meetings with two other NGOs to learn and share knowledge and experiences on promoting civil society.

The NGOs are the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED) and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID).

The PCID has in the past among others held community programmes such as “Empowering the Ulama of the Philippines”, “Electoral and Democratic Reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)”, and “the South-east Asia Forum on Islam and Democracy”.

“This study trip would definitely come in handy as we look forward to working closely with the various stakeholders in a democratic Sabah, be they the ruling government, the opposition as well as the Malaysian Election Commission in ensuring a fair and free polls for citizens,” said Jerry in a statement yesterday.