Kuasa has moved into its fifth month of evaluating the performances of both the state governments of Perak and Selangor, and the responsiveness of all the assemblymen in those states.
This is a pilot project. It is also the first time a Malaysian state government is systematically being evaluated starting from the short term (first year) of its promises to win and its ability to meet those promises. So is the effort to comprehensively test the responsiveness of all state assemblymen in those states.
The presentation of the result of our test on the state assemblymen in our first installation, with the evaluation of the state government to be issued out before the first anniversary of PRU13 on May 5, 2014.
Kuasa wants to empower the rakyat by allowing them to have objective information regarding their state government and the entirety of the representatives, so that they can have informed discussions about both their state government and all their representatives.
Kuasa intends to increase the scope of the programme to other states and eventually the federal government.
1-Year Report Card for Perak and Selangor
While the rep responsiveness section is comprehensive as seen by the data on the website and the amount of detail gathered, the report card is a much larger undertaking requiring the involvement of the state government of Perak and Selangor, and their corresponding opposition coalitions, and stakeholders in all types of business, social enterprise, civil society and associations.
It will truly be a multi-dimensional effort to weigh how many of the promises laid out have been met. What Perak’s BN government promised the people of Perak before PRU13, and the same for Selangor PR government and what they have given the good people of Selangor related directly to their promises.
The report will be displayed on Kuasa’s website (mykuasa.org) before May 5, 2014. The collection of data began a day ago, as our evaluation is as of 31 March 2014.
The promises were derived mainly from the respective election manifestos and have been presented to both the Selangor and Perak government. They had the opportunity to correct any errors Kuasa may have committed in listing the promises.
The evaluation will be based on three criteria and their respective weightage in parenthesis:
- Self-evaluation by state government (50%)
- Appraisal by state opposition (20%)
- Stakeholders related to the promises (30%)
With half the evaluation based on what the state government declares, the strength of the project is to have them actually state publically what they have achieved after being in government for a year. By April 15 the state governments have to present their self-declaration.
Assemblymen responsiveness for Perak and Selangor
Only five assemblymen from 114 representatives from both Perak and Selangor met the three green test set by Kuasa. They replied at the first time asking to our mystery guest, an anonymous constituent, who approached them for assistance via email, Facebook and Twitter.
The numbers shown on the website front page, 23% for Perak and 67% for Selangor, refers to the number of representatives who had replied to at least one out of the three channels the mystery guest used to contact them for help.
The test did not include traditional contact methods (telephone, fax and letters), it is expected that most residents in the selected states are online, the representatives are expected to be able to communicate using those channels.
One worrying trend, when ADUN offices were contacted to find out whether the email was received by the office or to get the correct email address when the email bounced the staff and the ADUNs themselves in some cases asked for letters or fax rather than seeking ways to deal with the present situation. Mindful further they risk alienating many constituents, most of them who are from Generation X and Y, and that the ADUNs have published their email, facebook and twitter contacts.
There are almost 14 million Facebook users in the country and the Internet penetration at a broadband level is national, the representatives have no excuse to avoid modern communication.
Kuasa also in order to give every ADUN and his office full opportunity to respond did the following;
- When email address is unavailable or the mail sent bounced, Kuasa staff called the ADUN office and at times the ADUN to get the correct email
- When there was no reply, called the office to confirm if the email was received.
- Sent to all Facebook pages we were able to find seen to be owned by the ADUN. Re-sent days later when a response was not forthcoming.
- Tweeted to the ADUNs with handles and re-tweeted up to three times.
Kuasa has these observations to make from the evaluation:
- ADUNs are more responsive on channels they are handling themselves and not passed to office staff or volunteers to manage. Selangor’s Tanjong Sepat (Selangor) N54 ADUN Haslin Hassan replied to our email within 30 minutes but up to date has not replied to Facebook page sent to him repeatedly. While the ADUN adjacent in Morib N53 Hasnul Baharuddin answered his Facebook page message within 12 hours but has not replied to emails sent repeatedly to his inbox after confirming the address with his office.
- Some generally not household name ADUNs have had good response rates along with action plan: ADUN for Kuala Kubu Baharu (Selangor) N06 Lee Kee Hiong responded to all email, Facebook and Twitter within the same day, and in two instances within 15 minutes. Mentions: (Selangor) Gombak Setia N17 Hasbullah Ridzwan, Teratai N22 Tiew Way Keng, Kinrara N30 Ng Sze Han, Bukit Gasing N34 Rajiv Rishyakaran and Kampung Tunku N35 Lau Weng San. (Perak) Pasir Pinji N27 Howard Lee, Trong N15 Zabri Abd Wahid, Sitiawan N50 Ngeh Koo Kam and Teja N45 Chang Lih Kang.
- Selangor has a sizeable lead on Perak when it comes to communication. In the at least one out of three count, Selangor has over 67% versus Perak reps performing at 23%.
- A noticeable lower level of response in both Perak and Selangor from the double-up group (in addition to being assemblyman holding a state government position like executive councillors.
- BN ADUNs are markedly behind Pakatan Rakyat ADUNs overall in both Perak and Selangor.
- ADUN communication is marred by them having multiple accounts. For example, former MB of Perak Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin has four Facebook accounts. All of them generally being updated and none of them responding to our message for the YB.
- ADUN communication is marred by obsolete contact points. For example, Belanja assemblyman (Perak) Mohd Nizar Zakaria usesybnizarzakaria.com but still has his old blog (ybnizarzakaria.blogspot.sg/) up and is only updated to 2011.
- ADUN communication is marred by dormant contact points. For example, Seri Serdang ADUN N29 in Selangor has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calon-PAS-N29-Seri-Serdang/392695540817947) which was started in January 2013 in view of the general election presumably and has been left unattended since June 2013.
- ADUN office staff generally pass contact information and don’t necessarily take ownership of the communication chain once it is initiated.
This process was initiated to assist ADUNs as much as the general voter in Perak and Selangor, therefore the benefits of the website mykuasa.org are:
- ADUNs have a neutral party assessing their communication operations, just like how retail companies have mystery guest programmes. ADUNS can get in touch with KUASA for a more qualitative feedback session.
- ADUNs can initiate steps to deal with the gaps, and begin processes like reconciling Facebook pages, prioritising SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), closing obsolete accounts and set up information feedback systems internally to respond to all medium in an appropriate manner.
- Voters in Perak and Selangor have a centralised information site on their ADUNs, and intelligence on which medium to use to reach their ADUNs.