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Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 9:34:00 PM
Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 9:34:54 PM
by mazwin nik anis AND razak ahmad
Independents may be Barisan and Pakatan’s party poopers
PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are bracing for a huge number of Independents to spoil their showdown in the 13th general election.
The emergence of these spoilers possibly the largest number ever in the country's electoral history is certain to lead to three-way fights and even multi-cornered contests.
Unlike previously when the Independents were maverick politicians, this time most of them are disgruntled party members left out of the Barisan and Pakatan's lists of candidates.
Notices have already been served to Prime Minister and Barisanchairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that they can expect to face Independents, even if some may dismiss them as minnows.
PKR supreme council member Fariz Musa, 43, and political science student Mohamed Bukhairy Sofian, 23, who claims to be from Gerakan Mahasiswa PRU13, will take on Najib in Pekan while controversial blogger Papagomo has declared that through a representative he will contest against Anwar and Barisan's Dr Mazlan Ismail in Permatang Pauh.
The Independents could include former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, should he defend his Pandan parliamentary seat.
Seremban DAP MP John Fernandez, Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Kajang DAP state assemblyman Lee Kim Sin have said they would contest as Independents in the May 5 polls.
Former Umno Tasek Gelugor division chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar, Bakri Umno committee member Ghazali Salamon, Batu KawanGerakan co-ordinator Mohan Apparoo and PKR Tapah division chief Ridzuan Bani have also made their intentions known to stand as Independents.
Then there is the 93-year-old Tok Mun or Maimun Yusuf who is expected to again contest the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat.
Another colourful Independent is “failure guru” Billi Lim Peng Soon who stood and lost in Bukit Bintang in 1999 and 2004 and in Kelana Jaya in 2008. He is likely to contest Kelana Jaya again.
Most of the multi-cornered fights are expected to take place in Sabah and Sarawak.
In the 2008 election, 89 multi-cornered fights took place in state and parliamentary constituencies, with the bulk of them in Sabah.
The Election Commission believes more than 50 Independents will contest parliamentary seats nationwide based on reports on the number of politicians angry at being dropped.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Omar expects the number of candidates to be very big.
“Even if there were to be straight fights for the 222 parliamentary seats, we would see 444 candidates. But judging from current trends, there could well be more than 500 candidates.
“The number of Independents contesting state seats is sure to be larger considering that there are 505 constituencies at stake,” he said.
EC secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said Independents had bought 301 forms for parliamentary constituencies and 696 for state seats.
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