Rush for ‘who-wants-to-be-a-candidate’

The highly popular ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ television concept has taken a political twist in Sabah. 

Thomas PI, FMT

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, the younger brother of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, once said something about “lucrative positions” in the Cabinet. He was naively confirming what many surmised.

So it is hardly surprising that scores of Sabahans want to be contestants in the upcoming 13th general election and some may even be forgiven for considering a new group as organisers of Sabah’s version of “who wants to be a millionaire” with an election slant.

Days after announcing its formation, the “Sabah Independent Candidates Sponsorship Body” has received 30 applications by wannabe electoral candidates in the upcoming 13th general election.

Co-founder and chairman of the body, Abdul Kadir Tahir who launched the organisation to act like a party to help provide voters not satisfied with the usual field of candidates, a third choice, said he was happy with the surge of interest.

He told reporters here that the applicants were from Pensiangan, Keningau, Pitas, Beaufort and Kuala Penyu as well as one who wants to contest both state and parliamentary constituency seats in an interior district.

He described the response from the interior and west coast areas of the state as “very encouraging” and said a second meeting would be held here soon to decide on the organisation’s committee line-up as well as to screen all the independent applicants seeking their help.

Part of the mechanishm to measure applicants’ suitability for being candidates is their views on eradicating hardcore poverty, reducing crime, corruption and malpractices within the government.

“We want well educated, credible and trustworthy persons to be our independent candidates… we need to know their motives behind offering themselves to be candidates first before we can proceed to the final decision on who will become our candidates,” he said.

Abdul Kadir, an ex-liaison officer to former Silam MP Samsu Baharom Abdul Rahman, said the organisation’s intention is to place its independent candidates in all 60 state and 25 parliamentary constituencies in Sabah, but a final decision would be made after the parliament is dissolved.

‘Emphasis on clean and healthy politics’

According to him, the body was formed to strike a balance between the mighty Barisan National and opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalitions. It will help its candidates by providing “advice to them in upholding the interest of the people”.

“After one-and-a-half years of watching the political situation in our country we feel there is a need to provide a third force in the elections.

“With the emphasis on clean and healthy politics, this body can play its role in assisting the new government rule after the elections,” he said.

Abdul Kadir, who declined to name the people backing his organisation, said the backers believe almost half of the voters in Sabah are still uncertain who they will support, thus giving independent candidates’ a chance.