I've been thinking about this question for some time now. Reading this blog entry Hiring Bloggers In Elections led me to put thoughts down in written form and hopefully through this new media attract feedback and input from other bloggers who are interested to help.
Let me start by listing down several frustration I have as a voter and taxpayer in democratic Malaysia:
- campaign period is too short for the voting public to interact and evaluate each candidate
- there are limited opportunities for candidates to broadcast their manifesto and plans for their local constituency
- promises made during campaign period are not recorded and voters are unable to hold their elected MP to these promises
- sophisticated voters who take the trouble to do homework to evaluate, question and interogate aspirant MPs are not able to benefit other voters with their findings and conclusions
- seditious, vulgar, racist, less-than-intelligent utterances made in the campaign trail are not recorded and exposed
- voters do not get equal access of information on contending candidates
- we end up sending incompetent (unelectable) individuals to our legislatures just because the party put them forward to us
The best source of information on any candidate is from the grassroot. Tamper this with intelligent analysis and scrutiny by a community of bloggers, we create for ourselves a robust screening process. With the use of readily available technology, it is possible to create a grassroot driven repository of information on our legislators - www.KnowYourYB.com.
Imagine a web portal of grassroot content - text, links, videos, mp3, pictures - on all candidates seeking election. In this portal, readers can download lists of "Questions You Should Ask Your Candidate". With the proliferation of video phones, we encourage the public to record their conversation with candidates and especially record their responses to questions directed to them. These videos are uploaded and made available to all.
If a candidate makes an election promise in his campaign, ask that he/she repeats it on camera and upload it to the portal as public record. Election speeches delivered at rallies, seminars and forums are recorded and uploaded as MP3 or videos.
This portal should also provide all nominated candidates equal and fair access to put up their own materials - bio, cv, speeches, manifesto, personal notes, campaign timetable etc etc.
After the election period, this same portal can continue to report on the successful candidates - speeches, voting record, attendance in Parliament or state assemblies, public service actitivities, local issues etc etc. Sort of a transparent and LIVE public report card on each MP. This set of information archive would serve as valuable resource for voters as well as the candidates when they seek re-election.
The mission here is to create "that" media platform for public accountability that has eluded Malaysians. To make this work, we need a group of neutral and like minded promoters who are not members of any political parties. Their motivation has to be apolitical.
My personal motivation is that some day in the future, my children and grandchildren are able make informed choices to elect effective and accountable legislatures. This is one thing they deserve to receive from me.
Do you believe your children deserves the same?
I have more ideas on how to make this work. However, it will take more than one man's effort to pull this off. I am sure you have some ideas of your own too. If you feel compelled, please help spread the word. Link this entry to your blog. I like to know if there are others out there who feel sufficiently motivated to turn this idea into reality.
I am sending this out to get feedback and comments.