In Malaysia, IRI supports initiatives that advocate more inclusive civic, political and electoral engagement, especially among the country’s most underrepresented and marginalized populations, and improve the responsiveness of political institutions and processes to citizens’ concerns.
For a democracy to succeed, it must be focused on the concerns of its citizens. IRI’s governance programming helps elected officials and political parties improve citizen engagement and facilitate intra-party cohesion. This support helps manage coalition conflict, develop responsive public policies, and fulfil campaign promises through strategic planning. At the state level, IRI provides state legislative assembly members from across the political spectrum technical assistance on effective constituent outreach, messaging, communications, policy development, consensus building and negotiation skills. IRI also supports civil society efforts to increase public participation in the policymaking process and government oversight.
In order to support party responsiveness to citizens in-between elections, IRI assists parties across the political spectrum as they work to strengthen their operational capacities to develop and implement clear strategic plans, enhance public outreach and communication. Political party programming also helps parties cultivate emerging youth leaders and improve coalition cohesion and member recruitment.
In any country, younger generations hold the keys to the future. Despite the historical political marginalization of Malaysia’s youth, the 2018 elections and 2019 “Vote 18” constitutional amendment movement showed that when youth are motivated, empowered and given the opportunity to exercise their voice, they can be a major force for change. To provide a platform for youth to engage in constructive discourse on the challenges facing Malaysia, IRI supports civil society initiatives from civic leadership training programs to voter education and registration efforts to talk radio that encourage open discourse on issues important to youth.
To support the development of democratic institutions capable of more responsive, inclusive and sustainable citizen outreach, strategic planning and issue identification, IRI conducts routine qualitative and quantitative public opinion research on social, economic and political issues. Research findings assist government, political party and civil society stakeholders to ensure policy priorities are consistent with, and responsive to, citizens’ concerns. Through its assistance to political parties, civil society and government, IRI is contributing to stronger, more responsible and accountable political institutions that better represent the interests of the Malaysian people.
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