Malaysia's 14th General Elections One Year Later

A quick review of Sinar Project efforts from crowdsourcing open data and information on candidates to online censorship monitoring in the lead up and on the night of Malaysia's historic 14th general elections.

Blacklist Criteria for Candidates

Image of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with blacklist tag on Wakil Rakyat

Before attempting to crowdsource information on candidates, we wanted to define clear objective requirements based on international standards for what a potential upstanding and quality political candidate should have.

  • Publish their CV

  • Not implicated or in position of responsibility for cases of corruption or gross mismanagement

  • Are upstanding citizens that do not take positions or make statements that would be classified as hateful, discriminatory or in support of curtailing basic human rights as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

After the elections, we then planned to update and reuse this as a consistent criteria for evaluating elected representatives.

Crowdsourcing Open Data of Candidates for Candidate Website

Project to build complete general election candidate website built on Sinar Project's politically exposed persons open data database and API. Given the extremely short period between nomination and election date, it was unlikely that would be able to gather much information on all candidates state and federal, but it was still worth the effort to try and learn for future elections. The data collected would also be valuable contributions to our Politically Expoxed Persons (PEPs) database for Malaysia.
We ran a workshop for volunteers to help crowdsourced the data, on hindsight we should also have included a component on helping monitoring online censorship as part of this workshop.

Wakil Rakyat Website

Development the GE14 website was as planned, spun off into an ongoing Wakil Rakyat website as a test case for using and collecting data to build apps and websites of elected representatives. Examples of features built for testing include tracking official position on issues of public interest, but also integrity issues such as fake degrees.

Stand on Issues of Wakil RakyatFake Degree or CV

You can learn more about Wakil Rakyat project here.

Online Censorship Monitoring

In lead up to polling date and on election day itself, we also lead efforts to constantly run tests on major media sites, political party websites and social media websites and messaging services such as Whatsapp. We tested and recorded evidence of censorship of Malaysiakini's independent live results websites for a few hours, which provided more up to date vote counts which before midnight was already indicating a win by opposition coalition for the first time in Malaysia's history.

Lessons learned from this effort such as the need to have documentation and workshops for monitoring teams and general public were needed, were then applied and improved upon for Cambodian and Thai elections.

Screenshot of OONI Explore report showing dns hijacking


A non-exhaustive list of volunteers:

  • Syuen Loh
  • Jack Khor
  • Yi Jian ho
  • Ivy Kwek
  • Jules K
  • Justine Chew
  • Jen Mee Thong
  • Lai Choon-Siang
  • Pauline Teng
  • Wei Fang Phang
  • Long Yong Chong
  • Elaine Cheh
  • Kay Yen Wong
  • Michael Leow
  • Ng Swee Meng
  • Awang Ilyas

Also thank you to all the kind public donors whose contributions helped fund this effort.