10 days ago, I finally decided to make a public appeal to raise the RM300,000 I was ordered to pay to NFC. I sat on it for a while and kept finding excuses not to do it, because I felt bad. Of course I had used crowdfunding before, but never to raise money for something that I had to pay myself.
I also felt bad because over the last one year, the Malaysian public had been contributing small money (RM20s, RM50s or RM100s) anonymously to fund INVOKE. By the time I decided to put up the public appeal last Monday, the INVOKE has received close to RM2.5 million crowdfunding contribution from the Malaysian public. I felt I could not have asked for another round of crowdfunding, especially for a court case that only concerns me.
I told my young team at INVOKE that we have to use INVOKE’s account for the crowdfunding because whatever amount raised above the RM300,000 required, must be returned to the public. It is not practical to return funds raised through crowdfunding individually to contributors, so the best way it to use it for a cause that the majority of contributors support. Whoever who contributes to the crowdfunding must have abhored corruption; and by extension would have wanted to see a change in government.
Hence, I decided the amount raised must go through INVOKE (not my personal account) so that it is audited and every sen is accounted for.
The typical minimum crowdfunding period in Malaysia is between one week to two weeks. Either way, we have to wait until after a week to get the full report from our online payment gateway as the online collection report is on weekly basis. If we declare the amount raised without the contributions transferred through the online payment gateway, it tantamounts to under-declaring the collection.
We received the full weekly report yesterday and that allowed us to finally tally all contributions and analyse the breakdown.
Over the last 10 days, a total of 7,435 Malaysians have answered my appeal and collectively contributed a sum of RM1,585,014.49. This amount is more than 5 times the amount needed to pay NFC.
They come from all walks of life. Of the 5,135 contributors whose details are available, 1,575 are Malays, 2,903 are Chinese, 348 are Indians, 40 are Sabah Bumiputras and 91 are Sarawak Bumiputras. About 2,300 people contributed anonymously at the cash deposit machines that we are unable to identify them.
84% of the contributions were in small amounts, ranging between RM10 to RM200 each.
I took the time to provide the detailed breakdown because Malaysians out there need to know that when it comes to fighting corruption, everyone feels the same. In the most ironic way, over the last one week I saw Malaysians of all races, religions, economic and social classes come together for one purpose: to send the message that they would support anyone who stands up against corruption.
The most touching part was the different ways and circumstances the contributions were delivered to us.
Some MPs from PAS walked from the left flank of the Dewan Rakyat to pass some cash donation in the full view of the house, despite the uneasy political relationship between our parties. In one of my campaign stopovers in Temerloh last week, an elderly lady passed a RM20 stapled with a note of encouragement. Malaysiakini, Cilisos and other online portals ran stories on this that were shared quickly early in the week.
The outpouring of encouraging words was overwhelming and I can only thank everyone who had helped in any way (contributions, spreading the words, making small fundraising on your own, writing articles about it, posting comments on social media etc.)
The RM300,000 from the amount raised will be given to my lawyers to do the necessary with regards to the court order for me to pay NFC.
The balance will be used to fund INVOKE’s ongoing campaign in 50 marginal constituencies around the country, which costs approximately RM300,000 a month. The largest chunk of this goes to pay the salaries of the 80+ staff around the country who work quietly behind the scene to win these 50 marginal seats.
INVOKE will provide quarterly reports on how the money is spent and the audited financial statements will be made public in full.
In my past endeavours, every time I hit a wall I remind myself of the poignant scene from Tolkien’s Fellowship of The Ring when Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee took a boat and got separated from their friends:
“I don’t suppose we’ll ever see them again” said Frodo.
“We may yet Mr Frodo, we may” replied Sam comfortingly.
Even during the most trying time of our short nationhood, Malaysians have defied the odds and put aside their differences to come together when it is needed most. Over the last one week, my faith in the righteousness of the people of this country is renewed and made stronger.
I told myself that we may yet see a better day soon, despite all the odss.
Thank you Malaysia.