Since September 2020, a group of volunteers has been working on the renovation of an old site that helps Malaysians get to know their members of Parliament (MPs).
The old site in question was MyMP, which was an initiative started in 2014 by Malaysian Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR). This project managed to reach about 8,000 young urban voters.
This time, the team of volunteers collaborated with MCCHR to contribute the new MyMP site to life and reach more voters.
Meet your MPs in the RPG style
There is a lot of information about our parliamentarians on the Internet, however, knowing where to find them can be tricky without experience, and the data is also difficult to digest.
MyMP was created to overcome these problems. According to the team, the old site was good, but MyMPV2 (as the internal team calls it) wants to better attract Malaysian demographics.
It does this through a dynamic role-playing game (RPG) interface, so that it can disperse information in a non-partisan way more effectively.
This data is collected by the team from sources such as the social networks of the deputies, the pages of Wikipedia, Sinar Project, which is a civic technology initiative that provides open government data for transparency and accountability, and documents called HANSARDs, which are the official parliamentary records of Malaysia.
The easier it is for Malaysians to access this information, the greater their potential for them to be informed voters or, first, to become voters.
To further the goal of holding elected MPs accountable, the team also wanted to track more data, such as gaining margins in elections, and the number of parties and alliances each politician had historically participated in.
According to the team, MyMP is funded by MCCHR through grants and does not receive any funding from any political party in Malaysia.
What is your MP’s score?
Since I’m a Z gene, I have to say that the site catches my attention for issues that would normally be hard for me to digest or that would interest me.
On the home page, 8-bit MP avatars are displayed, with 6 “MPs of the day” on the list. In total, the 222 elected deputies have become avatars with profile pages.
If you enter a name, constituency, code, or area, you can search for a relevant MP and be aware of what they have been doing.
For example, the site would work better if the information is always up to date, and from what I can see, the computer updates the records very often.
MyMP also uses a scoring system that gives you an idea of the accessibility and performance of a parliamentarian at a glance. An MP will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10 in 5 categories:
- Availability: Can you easily contact them on social media, via a service center, phone number, email address, and more?
- Transparency: Have they made public the information about their assets (what they own) and their income (what they earn)? To be valid, these statements must be a maximum of 5 years old.
- Loyalty: How often or rarely does a deputy jump from party to party, alliance / coalition or constituency? If a deputy changes loyalty often, your vote for them may be squandered. MyMP provides these MPs with an 8-bit frog badge to indicate that they are one, as the team calls it.frog (frog).
- Earnings rate: In the next round of elections, how likely would the elected deputy win?
- Work ethic: How active is your MP in attending parliamentary sessions, questioning government policy, presenting motions and bills, etc.?
For added transparency, MyMP has also added specific badges such as Break the SOP (non-compliance with COVID-19 SOPs) i Investigated (under investigation) for relevant MPs, with news sources supporting the information.
In the end, the score should not be seen as a clear indicator of a deputy’s abilities, so voters should take advantage of the sources provided by the team to do their own research.
Behind the project
The core team behind MyMP is made up of people with different interests and backgrounds. Its project manager is Chak, who is the founder and former editor of CILISOS.my. He is involved because of his interest in making the information more fun for the Malaysian public (in addition, he had to do something to overcome the boredom of the MCO 2020).
In his right hands are project supervisors Seah and Mazni. Seah has a law degree, while Mazni has been working with MCCHR since 2013. She oversaw the original implementation of MyMP and secured funding for the current version of the site. Today, it still manages and implements You are the helper! Projects.
Surekha is the team’s first internal midfielder. He is currently pursuing a degree in external law at the University of London and has helped MCCHR coordinate his volunteer efforts with Brickfields Asia College (BAC) by 2020.
The MyMP site was developed by Makerzone, a two-man team that has diversified from its roots to 3D printing to deliver software application development and implementation.
Meanwhile, I-Van has created 8-bit MP avatars that add character to the site Alychymy Creative, a company that creates animations and games like Kuih Muih and Silly Chonkobo.
The site is available in both English and BM, the latter thanks to MK Zainal, who is the first editor of SOSCILI.my, a subsidiary of CILISOS.my, which produces content similar to BM.
Being available in English and BM is a good start to increasing the accessibility of the site, and as the team grows, perhaps they could also look for contractors for translators who are fluent in Mandarin and Tamil.
This would ensure that the information reached a much larger portion of the population, which would affect the scale of its impact.
- MyMP has not yet officially launched its new site (scheduled date is August 30), but it is already functional. Check it out here.
Featured Image Credit: MyMP