Back in 2018, ahead of the general election, Kleptopoly: The Board Game was designed and launched by C4 Center with the goal of educating the public on issues of money laundering, asset declaration and the horrible nature of kleptocracy.
Kleptopoly was inspired by events during the 1MDB scandal that had gripped Malaysian politics at that time – the gravity of this scandal culminated in Malaysians voting out former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a symbolic victory for the Reformasi movement that sought to break the cycle of money politics and corruption that had been plaguing the nation for decades. For his role in the 1MDB scandal, Najib was sentenced to imprisonment, with the Federal Court upholding the verdict in August 2022.
While Kleptopoly remains an invaluable education tool and an entertaining game, the political context on which it was based has changed vastly over the last four years. With multiple changes in government administration having taken place and the ever-shifting allegiances of politicians, 1MDB no longer remains the attention-grabbing issue it once was.
With the next general election right around the corner, certain questions become crucial:
- What factors should voters base their decisions on?
- How can voters make a change even after the elections?
Considering that this also happens to be the first general election since the legal voting age was changed to 18 years, there exists a huge number of individuals exercising their right to vote for the first time – it is important they understand their role in the democratic system, and where their people power could be directed.
In a similar vein to Kleptopoly, C4 Center’s latest release, Build My-Town, is also a way to learn about good governance and anti-corruption in an entertaining way.
In Build My-Town, every player acts as an MP in charge of a constituency. The goal of each player is to improve his or her constituency by putting in development projects, ranging from small amenities such as public toilets to mega-projects such as a solar farm. These developments are purchased using the in-game currency, money cards. Players have the choice of whether to use money obtained transparently and legally (“clean money”) or money from illegal and unethical sources (“dirty money”).
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Besides the main goal of putting in development projects in each MP’s/player’s constituency, another main mechanic of the game is in its “reform cards”. Players can choose to table reforms that other players can vote on, much like real-life parliamentary voting, and these reforms have significant impacts on gameplay.
In keeping with the educational theme of the game, these reforms mirror those advocated for in reality as well, such as the political funding bill and the move to repeal the Official Secrets Act 1972.
These and other features of gameplay promise an experience that is both highly entertaining as well as educational for everyone, regardless of their level of political knowledge.
It is our hope that in playing Build My-Town, players will develop a curiosity for the many reforms needed to improve Malaysia that many groups and individuals have called for. In light of this, players will not only make the best choice during the upcoming general election, by voting for parties that will not only be able to deliver important reforms, but also continue speaking up in support of reforms whichever administration emerges victorious in the general election.
In playing the role of MPs, players will be able to develop an understanding of the important role MPs have in passing reforms in Parliament, and hopefully, carry that knowledge in speaking to their MPs to push for reforms as well.
As Malaysians, let’s educate ourselves and each other, and build a better Malaysia.
Build My-Town is now available for sale on C4 Center’s website, with physical sales beginning on 10 November. – C4 Center
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