THE thought of losing a deposit of up to RM20,000 and spending thousands more on campaigning has not deterred a large number of independent candidates from contesting in the GE13.
While top leaders of political parties mull over the best line-up for GE13, some individuals are considering to stand as independent candidates for a number of reasons.
The most common is a desire to bring about change in the constituencies while disappointment in the elected representatives is another reason.
In the last general election, Selangor saw six independents contesting in one parliamentary seat and five state seats.
They were Billi Lim Peng Soon (Kelana Jaya parliamentary constituency), Chandrasegaran Arumugam (Rawang), Azmi Hussain (Batu Caves), Wong Kok Yew (Seri Kembangan), Nazir Mansor (Port Klang) and Ab Manap Sahardin (Sungai Pelek).
Over in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, N. Periasamy stood against Nurul Izzah Anwar and Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in Lembah Pantai. However, none of the independent candidates won.
For GE13, quite a number have publicly voiced their interest to fight for the seats.
Businessman Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, better known for his involvement in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) court case, Pandan Perdana Residents’ Association chairman Lim Ah Chai and former All-Petaling Jaya Residents Association (Apac) chairman Liew Wei Beng look set to run as independent candidates.
Shamsubahrin has set up a personal website (www.shamsubahrinismail.com) and Facebook page to spread his manifesto even before Nomination Day.
He openly introduced himself as the candidate for the Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat who is “eager to serve the people of Bukit Bintang towards a prosperous city living”.
Meanwhile, Lim has also confirmed that he would be running as an independent candidate in the Teratai state seat against a DAP candidate and Gerakan’s Ben Liew.
Wei Beng, on the other hand, said he would contest for the Damansara Utama state seat. He is likely to face MCA’s Datuk C. K. Lim and newcomer Yeo Bee Yin of DAP.
While the other candidates are getting financial support from their respective political parties, Liew said he has to rely on his own resources.
However, he said independent candidates should not be underestimated.
“My strong points are my track record, hard work and commitment as a community leader for 12 years,” said Wei Beng who is 55 years old.
The former Taman Mayang Jaya and Taman Megah residents’ association chairman said friends and residents would be helping him during the campaigning period.
Wei Beng, who is now the Taman Mayang Jaya Commercial Centre Association chairman, said the elected representatives were too busy politicking instead of serving the people and addressing their problems.
“During the campaigning period and ceramah, the big guns from political parties attract huge crowds because people enjoy listening to speakers running down their opponents. But that does not necessarily transform into votes,” he said.
Kepong Community Service Centre head Yee Poh Ping said it was “very likely” that he would be standing as an independent candidate in Kepong.
He said he was confident his service for the past 16 years would speak for itself and highlight his ability as a people’s representative.
As an independent, he is planning on small-scale campaigning to reach out to voters.
“My team and I will visit every corner of Kepong to meet the people personally, right after nomination. We are focusing on the personal touch, instead of large-scale publicity,” Yee said.
The former MCA member is well-known for highlighting issues in Kepong through his community service centre and contesting without the support of a political party has not deterred Yee.
“Even without political backing, I am able to resolve people’s problems in Kepong.
“If I am given the mandate to serve, I will have more authority and allocation to develop Kepong further,” he said.
Yee added that although his financial resources was limited, his aim was to win over the hearts of voters with his “energy and spirit to work”.
He is likely to stand against incumbent Dr Tan Seng Giaw of DAP and Federal Territory PPP chief Datuk A. Chandrakumanan.
Meanwhile, Billi, who has stood and lost in the Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat in 1999 and 2004 and the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat in 2008, said he may contest in Kelana Jaya.
His perseverance certainly fits his title as the “failure guru”, which he earned for his Dare to Fail book series. Billi said his campaign would be unique to reach out to the voters.
The Bukit Gasing state seat would be contested by two independents, Simon Lee and Mak Khuin Weng. Lee is the son of the late Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee while Mak is a former councillor of Petaling Jaya City Council.
Their opponents are Gerakan’s Juan Sei Chang and probably Kasturi Rani Patto, who is the daughter of the late DAP strongman P. Patto.