SEREMBAN: One of the two independent candidates in the battle for the Rantau state seat here is going to “stay at home” and not campaign for two days beginning today — as a sign of protest against Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan.
Housewife Malar Rajaram, from Port Dickson, told reporters that she is protesting because “BN did not allow their Cameron Highlands candidate to speak”.
“Pakatan Harapan did not allow their candidate to speak in Semenyih,” she added.
“So, I want to protest (so it leads to an) awareness that candidates must speak up. Voters must know how they talk.
“This is all in line with what I want to fight for the rakyat.
“So, for two days I will remain quiet, following which I will announce my manifesto to the media,” she said after she was announced as an official candidate.
But in the meantime, she said she would still “go around Rantau”.
Asked if she was concerned about this move backfiring on her due to the unnecessary delay in going on the campaign trail, which is only 14 days, Malar said she did not mind.
“Tortoises are always slow but they win as well,” she said, making a reference to the famous folk tale about a race between a fast hare and a slow tortoise. It was the tortoise that eventually won as the overconfident hare decided to take a nap.
Malar used to work as a radio broadcaster in Toronto, Canada.
Speaking to FMT, the 51-year-old said she would not comment on her chances of winning in the Rantau by-election.
“I leave it to the voters. I would like them to listen to my manifesto and then make their decision.”
Meanwhile, former lecturer and teacher Mohd Nor Yassin, who is the other independent candidate, said he threw his hat into the ring because he wants to “exercise his democratic rights” as a citizen.
Yassin, 67, is from Gemencheh, Negeri Sembilan. Before this, he said he “supported all political parties”.
He is now on a mission to bring about development “that is based on Islam” in the Rantau state seat.
The other two candidates in the race are PKR’s Dr Streram Sinnasamy for PH and Rantau incumbent Mohamad Hasan, from Umno.
Yassin and Malar were booed after their names were announced at the close of nominations at SJK (C) Bandar Seri Sendayan. But they stood tall and remain unperturbed.
Malar also diffused tensions for everyone when she expressed her happiness with being announced as a candidate through a loud “wooh”. This caused the crowd to burst into laughter.
The by-election is underway because of a Federal Court dismissal of an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside an election court decision declaring his victory in GE14 null and void.
Last year, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after Streram, the PH candidate, was prohibited from entering the nomination centre as he did not have a pass from the Election Commission (EC).
Polling will take place on April 13 and early voting on April 9.
There are a total of 29,926 registered voters, about 55% of whom are Malays, 26% Indians and 19% Chinese.
The by-election is the seventh to be held in the country since GE14, after those for the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia, Balakong and Semenyih state seats in Selangor and the Cameron Highlands (Pahang) and Port Dickson (Negeri Sembilan) parliamentary seats.