Gerak Independent group aims to be 'kingmaker' at next GE

Social activist/lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim. - FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Gerak Independent (GI) group aims to be the “kingmaker” at the next general election by fielding candidates not affiliated with any political parties with the hope to return parliamentary power to the people.

Its spokesman Siti Kasim said they plan to deliver a small bloc of GI-endorsed candidates who would make a big difference in pushing for parliamentary reform.

She claimed existing politicians and parties had failed the people, and Parliament was deeply fractured.

Siti said those interested to be candidates were welcome to submit applications.

"You do not have to be a graduate or a professional to apply.

"Even janitors can apply, if they have the interest of the nation and people at heart.

"We do not discriminate. But all applicants will be thoroughly vetted," she told a press conference via Zoom on Thursday (Nov 12).

GI would also conduct live public hearings on digital platforms for potential independent candidates and assess public feedback as well before making its final decision.

The GI movement comprises Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity Foundation, I Am The Third Force, KitaBantuKita and Malaysia First, among others.

"No more shoving candidates down our throats a couple of weeks before elections, as done by political parties.

"We will introduce our candidates weeks, months or even years earlier once our Apps are up and running, hopefully by March," she said.

She said even former Sungai Benut MP Mohd Tawfik Ismail, who had offered to contest as a GI candidate, would be subjected to a thorough vetting and due diligence process.

"GI is a collaboration of NGOs and NGIs to bring real change to Malaysia, reflecting values of a progressive, scientific, and equal society as enshrined in the Rukun Negara.

"We realise that change will only come if our Parliament is filled with people with an array of values beyond ideological choices, which should be shared by those participating in policy-making," she said.

GI had outlined five pillars for its reform agenda namely putting an end to divisive race and religious based politics, honouring Malaysia Agreement 1963 as promised to Sabah and Sarawak, restoring all forms of freedom as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, returning institutional powers to the rakyat, as well as establishing need-based affirmative and poverty eradication policy and programme.

"We want to help people out of the poverty rut.

"We also want to give voters an option to kick out MPs who have failed them. Kick all of them out," she said.

She said GI would work with like-minded parties which shared the same values.

To make the big changes, one must start by taking baby steps, said Siti.

GI welcomed public donations to operate and maintain its infrastructure.

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