KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Despite having a bigger number, the independent candidates vying for seats in the 15th General Election (GE15) will not have an easy route to Parliament, according to analysts.
A total of 108 independent candidates were recorded for the GE15 this year, far more than the 24 enlisted in the GE14 in 2018 and 79 in GE13 in 2013.
These candidates comprise individuals from various backgrounds including renowned activists and professionals, as well as seasoned politicians who opted to contest as independent candidates after not being nominated by their own parties such as Chua Tian Chang @ Tian Chua in Batu and Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin in Padang Besar.
Political analyst from the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) Dr Azmi Hassan said those big names such as Wong Tack who is vying for the Bentong seat, lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim or Siti Kasim and influencer Nur Fathiah Syazwan Shaharudin or popularly known as ‘Cleopatra’, both trying their luck in Batu, would not be able to bring much impact in the election.
“In Malaysia’s political scene, parties are usually the main factor that shapes the voter’s decision while the candidates usually play the second role,” Azmi told Bernama.
However, Azmi said the independent candidates in Sabah and Sarawak could probably be the preferred choices as the services needed by the local population differ from the benefits desired by the voters in the peninsula.
For example, despite withdrawing from the race, Datuk Ali Biju, the incumbent of Krian state seat but running as an independent in the Sarawak state election end of last year, still managed to garner about 2,000 votes.
Azmi said the independent candidates not only add colour to the competition in their respective seats but their presence also gave a good sign of democracy in the country.
“Of course, there will be split votes among the nominated candidates, but the independent candidates will not be the leading factor to the establishment of a more stable government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prof Datuk Dr Ismail Sualman of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) said according to some studies, independent candidates were “less marketable” among voters as they could not bring changes but were just releasing their anger at the government of the day.
“It is possible for these independent candidates to win if they have strong machinery behind them,” he said when contacted.