GE15: Record 108 independent candidates contesting parliamentary seats

KUALA LUMPUR: A record 108 independent candidates will be contesting for parliamentary seats in the 15th General Election (GE15).

This is far more than the 24 who vied for parliamentary seats in GE14 (in 2018) and 79 in GE13 (in 2013).

In GE15, the independent candidates comprise those from various backgrounds, including activists, professionals and those not nominated by their parties, among them are Batu MP Chua Tian Chang @ Tian Chua and Padang Besar incumbent Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin.

With a 10-cornered fight, the Batu parliamentary seat has the highest number of independent candidates with four, namely Tian Chua; lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim, who is also known as Siti Kassim; social media influencer Nur Fathiah Syazwan Shaharudin or more popularly known as Cleopatra; and Too Cheng Huat.

The three independents trying their luck in the Ampang parliamentary constituency are M. Raveendran, Muhammad Syafiq Izwan Mohd Yunos and Tan Hua Meng while the three contesting the Kota Raja seat are K. Kumar, P. Raveetharan and S. Surendhar.

Three independent candidates each are also contesting the parliamentary seats in Bangi (Jamal Hisham Hashim, Muhammad Fauzi Hasim and M. Suthan); Taiping (M. Mohganan, Dr A. Rama Moorthy and Leow Thye Yih); Sungai Siput (N. Rajah, R. Indrani and Baharudin Kamarudin); Sandakan (Lita Tan Abdullah, Lokeman Hazli Azali and Hu Chang Lik @ Hii Chang Lik); and Kanowit (Elli Luhat, Chen Nguk Fa and Michael Anak Lias).

Politics and international relations analyst from Universiti Utara Malaysia Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani feels that the independent candidates stand a chance to win if they have something to offer other than the support of any political party.

Citing P. Prabakaran’s Batu parliamentary seat victory in GE14 with the support of Pakatan Harapan, Mohd Azizuddin believes that any independent candidate using the same strategy has a chance to become an MP.

“These independent candidates, if they are local leaders who are well known, stand a chance to win. This was proven in GE14 when three independent candidates won the parliamentary seats in Batu, Julau and Lubok Antu.

“However, there are independent candidates ‘planted’ to split the votes for other political parties contesting the seat, thus affecting the majority and overall result on polling day,” he told Bernama.

Besides Prabakaran, the other two independents who won parliamentary seats in GE14 were Datuk Larry Sng in Julau and Jugah Muyang in Lubok Antu.

In GE15, all three of them will be defending their respective seats, with Prabakaran representing PKR on PH’s ticket, Sng contesting for Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) and Jugah representing Perikatan Nasional (BN).

The Election Commission (EC) has set Nov 19 as polling day and Nov 15 for early voting. – Bernama