Independent candidates ready for hard fight in GE15

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Independent candidates for the Bagan Datuk and Batu parliamentary seats, which are expected to see a fierce battle among the contenders, are aware of the uphill task they face in the 15th General Election (GE15).

“It’s going to be a hard fight but we will have to see what the ground is like.

“I am under no illusion about my chances but I will give it my best shot,” said Tawfik Ismail, who has issued a statement of intent to take on Bagan Datuk’s six-term incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in Perak.

The son of the late former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman said he decided to make it his sole mission to challenge the Umno president as a means to bring back integrity and dignity into politics.

“These issues need to be laid out to the public, especially to the people of Bagan Datuk,” he said on Tuesday.

Tawfik, a former MP for Umno in Sungai Benut (now Simpang Renggam), Johor, co-founded the new political reform group Gerak Independent (GI) that comprises independent individuals.

He decided not to stand on any political platform as a candidate to avoid political favouritism.

On his effort to reach out to voters, Tawfik said a good number of friends and volunteers have come forward to offer help with his campaign.

“Bagan Datuk is not that far from Kuala Lumpur and they are willing to travel here to help me,” he said, adding that he would also rely on his social media network to get his message out to voters.

Ahmad Zahid first won the seat, previously known as Bagan Datoh, in 1995.

Another political veteran said to be eyeing the seat is former PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

Meanwhile, outspoken activist and lawyer Siti Kasim, who is among the GI candidates for GE15, said she was unfazed at the prospect of facing a multi-cornered fight for Batu in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is irrelevant how many candidates are standing for a parliamentary seat. It is a democracy and it is what it is,” she said when contacted.

Siti said she selected Batu as a place to contest as it was the most apt for GI based on several factors.

“I feel it most suited to our brand and it’s a well-balanced urban seat,” she said.

She also said that as an Independent, she would be able to represent the people directly in Parliament without the need for any political party middleman.

On her chances of winning, Siti remained upbeat but realistic.

“I am realistic in my chances like everyone else who contends for a seat.

“My team and I are doing the very best to reach out to the electorate,” she added.

Apart from Siti, popular social media influencer Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddin, or “Cleopatra” as she is better known, has declared her interest in standing as an Independent in Batu.

The Batu parliamentary seat looks set to attract high attention due to the colourful personalities expected to contest there.

Incumbent P Prabakaran, 26, became the youngest MP when he won the seat as an Independent at the age of 22 during GE14. He later joined PKR.

Batu’s former two-term MP Tian Chua, a former PKR vice-president, recently indicated his interest in contesting in Batu again, which he first won in 2008. – The Star