Monday, August 6, 2012


MANILA TRIP..... Jerry Ombou (left) and Kanul Gindol (right) after their final preparation meeting for the Manila trip in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

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-renown NAMFREL (National Citizen's for Free Election), in relation to the coming Malaysian general election.

Chairman of Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo, Mr Kanul Gindol, and myself, both as 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 where allegedly abuses had been always existent but skipped the eyes of independent observers.

Ensuring a fair and free election is the utmost priority of MAFREL too and thus why we came up with this self-funded study trip to our experienced neighbour.

While in Manila, the two of us would also have separate meetings with two other NGOs during which we will learn and share knowledge and experiences on promoting civil society in our respective states.

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.

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