KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — A website aimed at furnishing voters with the latest developments in relation to 20 hot seats, predicted to be key battlegrounds in the upcoming general election (GE15), will be launched on Wednesday by non-governmental organisation, Kuasa.
The website, according to Kuasa chief executive Praba Ganesan, will provide information on these seats such as potential candidates, the history of MPs in those constituencies, general information and local issues affecting the area, and links to election hopefuls’ official social media accounts.
When explaining the intentions behind the website, Praba said the portal, which will go ‘live’ on Wednesday afternoon, was set up to provide the correct demographics with relevant information on the personalities contesting in their constituencies.
He said this is to combat the predicament usually faced by voters, who, most of the time, have only eight to 10 days to familiarise themselves with candidates before deciding who to cast their vote for.
“Therefore, they (voters) have a very short time to form an opinion on who can best represent them in Parliament. The lack of information reduces the democratic principle of informed choice.
“Early and timely information can also empower voters to give early feedback to the parties about their candidates,” he said during a press conference at Kafe Kleptokrat in the city here today.
Praba said information published on the website will be obtained from credible sources based on news and party sources.
Elaborating further, he said the pilot phase of the website will only highlight 20 hot seats, citing limited resources, adding that Kuasa plans to expand the list eventually.
“The pilot is for 20 seats due to resource limitations. There is potential to increase the number of seats covered, including those in Sabah and Sarawak. The website is in Malay only for now. An English section will be added,” he said.
Among the more interesting seats highlighted today were Gombak in Selangor, Pagoh in Johor, and Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur.
By way of a teaser, Praba said Gombak incumbent MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali might face a tough fight at the next elections, following rumours that his protege Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari plans to contest there, along with other Umno candidates.
Azmin was the former Selangor mentri besar and PKR deputy president before he was made a federal minister under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. He was part of the cluster of MPs who defected from PH to form the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government early last year.
Another seat of interest is Lembah Pantai, where PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil is the incumbent.
“With former Lembah Pantai Umno chief Datuk Seri Raja Nong Chik declaring his willingness to allow new faces to compete, Fahmi might face still competition from the current Umno chief and former professional footballer Ramlan Askolani, and possibly a surprise with corporate captain turned politician, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz, joining the fray,” Praba said.
Another point highlighted by Praba was the likelihood of multi-cornered fights, similar to the situation seen during last year’s Sabah state elections that saw up to 11-cornered fights in some seats.
He also pointed out how the current political landscape might produce a flurry of defectors being poached by parties looking to strengthen their position.
“Umno and PKR seek to hit those who won on their ticket, and then made the exodus to Bersatu.
“Seven of the 20 seats covered fall in this category. A sense of revenge is in the air,” Praba said.
He added that anyone interested in contributing to sustaining the website can make deposits into Kuasa’s CIMB account (8010712429).
“The project is presently self-funded and Kuasa seeks to crowdfund the project.
“Donations can be made to Persatuan Kuasa, so that we can improve the capacity of the project and help millions of Malaysians to make informed decisions at the polling booth,” he said.