On 1st August 2015 ROSE trainers conducted a follow-up session of Polling and Counting Agent (PACA) Training with special focus on Counting of ballots. The small number of participants this time (about 5 new participants and 2 who came for a refresher) more than made up for it as they were very attentive and enthusiastic. More than half of them were retirees.
The main part of the training was on the roles and responsibilities of a Counting Agent (CA) as well as an overview of what happens at a Polling Station on election day.
The session was conducted by Ann Teo and facilitated by Tiffany Lim. Again, the use of role-play in the training was well received and the participants gained a lot of knowledge from it. They had great fun too from volunteering/participating in the role-play.
Below is a short sharing by Mariana Binti Yusuf, a retiree and first-time attendee of our PACA training.
“I have no knowledge about what ‘PACA’ is all about and hence I was really curious when I saw the flyer shared by my friend on Facebook about this training session organized by ROSE. Out of curiosity I decided to register for it and sent a short message informing the organizers that I was interested to come. As it turned out my curiosity was satisfied and I was very happy that I made the decision to go that day.
I learnt that to be a Polling or Counting Agent we have to be responsible, reliable, honest, smart, brave, thick-skinned, diligent and punctual when carrying out our duties on election day. In my honest and humble opinion, the R.O.S.E. PACA training was useful and an eye-opener for me as a person who has no knowledge at all about the duties of the polling and counting agent in an election.
The training was full of fun also for the participants and we really enjoyed the simulation and role-play on vote-counting in particular, determining whether the votes are to be accepted or rejected or spoilt.
I have been feeling that I needed to do something more for my beloved country Malaysia from where I am right here in Sarawak. Through this session I have discovered that one can contribute to promote and defend free and fair elections by becoming a Polling or Counting Agent during elections. Based on this experience, I would encourage more people to attend these training sessions and thereafter serve as a Polling/Counting Agent on election day”.
Another participant Geoffrey Tang also shares his reflection here;
The recent dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the cabinet reshuffle was a déjà vu moment for me as it was possibly the sacking of our then DPM, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim back in 1998 that woke me up from my ‘slumber’. I slowly developed some interest and started paying attention to national issues which inevitably leads me to what our politicians say or do not say. I started asking questions like ‘Where is Malaysia heading? Our government insists that our economy is doing well and yet why are ordinary Malaysians finding it hard to survive?’ In this state of Sarawak, although the natives form 51% of the total population of the state and many of them are ministers and in the state cabinet as well as ‘wakil rakyats’ , they are the most marginalized of the population here. I can go on!
I tell myself, I should be doing something for the betterment of the state if not country.
Attending the recent Polling and Counting Agent (PACA) Training informed me of the option that is available to me as a citizen, over and above that of only casting my vote during an election! I learnt that I can contribute towards cleaner and fairer elections by serving as a PACA and I am looking forward to that! In the event that the election results are not want I expect or if the candidate I will vote for do not become my ‘wakil rakyat’ at least I can proudly tell others that I have done my part as PACA in the election process.
Thus it is my hope to see more young people get themselves engaged & trained as PACA! Let’s join hands to create a better Malaysia for future generations to come.
A big thank you to Mariana and Geoffrey for their heartfelt sharing and not forgetting a big thank you to our first-time PACA facilitator, Tiffany, as well!