KUALA LUMPUR: One of the two independent candidates contesting for the Batu federal constituency has offered himself to represent PKR, following the Election Commission’s (EC) move last Saturday to disqualify incumbent and favourite Tian Chua from defending the seat.
P Prabakaran, who at 22 is the youngest candidate in the coming polls, said he always respected and looked up to Tian Chua as his mentor.
“My family has been living in the Batu constituency since my birth, and they have been PKR supporters from the start,” he told FMT today.
Batu will see a four-cornered fight among Barisan Nasional, PAS and two independents. Praba is facing BN’s Dominic Lau, PAS’ Azhar Yahya and another independent V. M. Panjamothy.
The law student said he was recently approached by a PKR member asking if he would be keen to be endorsed by the party, which has won the seat in the last two general elections.
On Monday, Tian Chua, whose nomination was disqualified by the EC on the ground that he had been fined RM2,000 last month, filed an application in the High Court for a declaration on his eligibility to contest the elections. The court is set to hear the matter tomorrow.
In his application, Tian Chua said that in the 2013 polls, the returning officer for the Batu constituency had allowed him to file the nomination paper, despite a previous conviction and a RM2,000 fine.
In 2010, High Court judge Ghazali Cha had maintained a RM2,000 fine imposed on Tian Chua for biting a policeman in 2007 as he did not want a by-election to occur as a result of his ruling.
Tian Chua was fined RM3,000 after he was found guilty of verbally insulting a police officer in 2014. The Sessions Court later lowered the fine to RM2,000.
The Federal Constitution disqualifies anyone from standing as an election candidate for five years on being sentenced to more than a year’s jail, or a fine of more than RM2,000.
Politics from childhood
Prabakaran said he would still support Pakatan Harapan even if the court overrules the EC’s decision to allow Tian Chua to contest.
Prabakaran said he became interested in politics from his primary school days.
“My father used to force me to watch parliamentary debates and to read newspapers. Initially I wasn’t keen but after a few years, I began to understand the changes needed in the country,” he said when met at his home here.
He said he later became active in school debates, including those with political themes.
“I may be the youngest candidate but that motivates me to fight for the rights of the youths, and to lower the cost of living for young families,” he said.
Among Prabakaran’s campaign manifesto is to bring down the voting age from 21 to 18, improve public infrastructure, make towns and cities more disabled-friendly, improve vocational and tertiary education and increase internship opportunities for youths.