Kajang, a by-election for many with personal agendas

Kajang by-election

Gobikrishnan is hoping that the little-known party would emerge as the “third force” as currently, at least, there is unhappiness over the by-election.

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider

(TMI) – The Kajang by-election is shaping up to be a grudge match among many with an axe to grind with PKR, not the least Barisan Nasional (BN) which lost more state seats in Selangor in Election 2013.

Within hours of PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh announcing his resignation last Monday, two other parties – the newly-registered New Generation Party Malaysia (NGPM) and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), and an independent, have also expressed interest in running against PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Kajang by-election.

Local party leaders expect a scenario similar to that of the 13th general election last year where a six-cornered fight saw Chin Cheh winning with a 6,824 majority.

“There will be a lot of candidates. All sorts of publicity seekers, who will join the fray,” said a local MCA leader who did not want to be identified.

He noted that the last time, one of the independents, Ong Yan Foo, was an MCA member disgruntled with the party’s choice of Lee Ban Seng, while the Islamist party Berjasa also fielded a candidate, Mohamad Ismail.

Two other independents – Mohd Khalid Kassim and Mohd Iwan Jefrey Abdul Majib – put up some posters in the town but hardly raised a din after their nomination day bravery.

There are 39,030 voters in the Kajang constituency of which almost half are Malays, 40% Chinese and 10% Indians.

For the NGPM, which was set up last year, the PKR assemblyman’s resignation has provided an “unexpected opportunity” for it to create awareness of the party and “raise its profile”.

The party counts Major Dr Faiz Khaleed, Malaysia’s second astronaut, as its advisor and promises that he will vet their list of candidates.

Instead of fielding a candidate from their pool of 200-odd members, NGPM wants those interested to be candidates to apply to the party.

“So far, we have received about 12 applications, including members from other parties,” secretary-general S. Gobikrishnan told The Malaysian Insider.

Applicants have to be no more than 40 years of age, be residing in Kajang and hold at least a degree.

Gobikirishnan, the former adviser for crime watchdog MyWatch, said they were looking for young blood with no previous political experience.

“We formed the party to empower young people. That is why I myself am not standing as a candidate because we must start by showing a good example,” said the 38-year-old.

Gobikrishnan is hoping that the little-known party would emerge as the “third force” as currently, at least, there is unhappiness over the by-election.

“We are hoping to  receive the support of the young people (below the age of 40),” he said.

Statistics show that in Kajang, young voters, or those below the age of 40, make up 40% of voters.

PSM have also said that they were receiving pressure to field a candidate as the people were fed-up with both BN and PKR.

The party, which has been affiliated with Pakatan Rakyat (PR), have issues with PKR and feels aggrieved over the way it was treated in Selangor during the last general election.

Secretary-general S. Arutchelvan said the party’s central committee would meet on February 6 to discuss on whether to field a candidate in the Kajang by-election.

“Circulars have been sent to our members to give us feedback on this.

“We will also question our party if we want to participate in this ‘unpopular’ election as there are more pressing issues, like the rising cost of living, at hand,” he added, skirting around its gripe with PKR.