How To Run For Politics As An Independent Candidate
About 270 independent candidates contested the 13th general election, making it the most number of unaffiliated hopefuls vying for a shot at top-level politics.
But all of them lost, with 266 candidates losing their deposits as they failed to secure one-eighth of the votes cast. Needless to say, many did feel the burn.
“Being independent is actually stupid. There is no way I got into this with the hope of winning in the first place. If that was my intention, I am just extra stupid. The system doesn’t allow it. You can’t win,” says Mak Khuin Weng.
He should know. Mak was among the 266 who lost their deposits after running for the Bukit Gasing state assembly seat in GE13. Rajiv Rishyakaran of DAP won that contest.
But what motivated him to campaign despite the uphill battle?
“I threw away about RM30,000 for a point. I wanted to raise awareness on an issue that affected a lot of people in a particular constituency,” Mak tells iMoney.
He campaigned for grassroots problems such as land titles wrongly given out in thousands of homes in Petaling Jaya and developmental rules which were not followed by municipal councils.
“Before I went on this route, I went to the media with this story and not a lot of people picked it up. I even went on BFM but the response wasn’t there. This was a last-ditch effort.”
But despite the loss, Mak does not regret his decision. “I spent the money for an experience. It’s no different from you going on a holiday.”
On how he would rate himself, he believes he did what he could do with the resources he had and the obstacles he faced.
And was it worth the money?
“I got people to interview me. It generated media. I paid for advertising and if I looked at it that way, I got a lot more coverage than just buying an ad.
“And it is still paying dividends… because you are interviewing me.”