A bit of a background…
Malaysia’s 13th general elections were held on 5 May 2013, following the dissolution of the Parliament announced by the Prime Minister on 3 April 2013. Both the House of Representatives and 12 out of 13 State Legislative Assemblies (with the exception of Sarawak) were renewed, following the practice established in 2004 to hold these elections simultaneously.
How Did I Get Involved?
I was encouraged to volunteer as a PACA by a friend of mine. Her brother-in-law is a candidate. On April 13th, together with another friend, we attended a briefing at their service center in TTDI. It was started by the time we reached there. It was a small office above a shop. People were seated in rows. The speaker was briefing us about the voting procedures. We were listening to him very attentively as we had no idea what are the procedures. Then, the speaker started briefing us on tasks of an agent.
It is known as PACABA in full which is an acronym for Polling Agent, Counting Agent, Barung Agent.
As a polling agent, we will be stationed inside the room to observe the entire voting flow. A counting agent will monitor the ballot counting, to ensure only valid ballot paper will be counted and results are properly documented.
Until the very last day before polling day, we helped with the paperworks and other preparation at the service centre — form filling, photo cutting, data collection among other tasks. This is a valuable experience and I’ve learnt a lot.
The day before polling day, everyone was very exciting while some appeared to be nervous. We did the final checking to ensure everything are in order. Roster prepared and final briefing were given. We helped out until 3 am on polling day.