Fielding same candidate for parliamentary, state seats no longer relevant
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — It is high time for political parties to ‘move’ from the old norm of fielding the same candidate to contest both parliamentary and state seats in the 15th General Election (GE15).
Senior political science lecturer from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Dr Jamaie Hamil is of the view that the strategy of fielding the same candidate for both parliamentary and state seats is no longer relevant at this time, as almost all individuals in the party are interested in contesting the election, and there may be dissatisfaction if party members are not nominated in GE15.
He said that normally, candidates who contest parliamentary and state seats are ‘heavyweight’ candidates, i.e. important candidates in a party, and feel that they can secure a large victory in both seats.
“For the Barisan Nasional (BN), during the 80s and 90s, they used to field candidates in both seats, but after that it was rare. It is because the distribution of seats (between BN component parties) is problematic, and if one candidate contests two seats, (there is) no opportunity for others to contest.”
“However, parties like DAP, PKR and PAS can field candidates in both seats because their leaders are not that many, (or) there are not many candidates who can win, so they were bold enough to field the same candidates,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Citing an example of BN, he said that if the same candidate was fielded to contest both seats, it would probably create dissatisfaction which could lead to protests and boycotts in the party, and ultimately cause the party to lose.
“In the current situation, and based on my observation, the ones that are relevant or always win by fielding the same candidate are DAP and PAS. I agree that not all parties are suited to use this strategy by fielding the same candidate for both parliamentary and state seats,” he said.
Among the political figures who held positions in both parliamentary and state seats is PAS president, Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Marang and assemblyman for Rhu Rendang from 1986, before giving up the seat in GE14.
In addition, DAP veteran, Lim Kit Siang, has held similar responsibilities in five different states as an MP in Penang, Perak and Johor, and as an assemblyman in Penang and Melaka.
Lim, who is also the Iskandar Puteri MP, once won the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat and the Kubu (Melaka) state seat in the Fourth General Election in 1974, but in the Fifth General Election held in 1978, he won the Petaling parliamentary seat but defended the Kubu state seat.
In addition, Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu is the incumbent of Tambun parliamentary and Chenderiang state seats in Perak after winning both in GE14.
The former Prime Minister and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has been the incumbent of the Pagoh parliamentary since 1978. He won the seat on the BN ticket at that time. He was also Bukit Serampang assemblyman in 1986 and 1990. In GE14, Muhyiddin won the Gambir state seat.
Sharing Jamaie’s sentiment is political analyst, Datuk B. Anbumani, who is of the view that for GE15, political parties need to be determined and open to field new faces in parliamentary and state seats to give more opportunities to locals, especially to contest state seats.
“The party should not be arrogant by fielding the same candidate in both seats; we need to give priority to the locals.”
“We want MPs and assemblymen to provide the best service to the people, because the people’s problems are becoming more challenging, in addition to facing many economic issues,” he said.
In terms of the division of duties of a politician as an MP and assemblyman, Anbumani said that the matter was really burdensome because the individual was carrying two heavy responsibilities.
“It is true that there are situations where they failed to pay full attention; some have to attend the state assembly sitting, and at the same time, they have to rush to Parliament to attend a Dewan Rakyat session because Parliament needs comprehensive observation.”
“Political parties need to accept the fact that times have changed now. They need to be more open if they want to capture (the hearts of) the younger generation,” he said.