So, you want to be a ‘wakil rakyat’?

A voter casting his vote in the ballot box at the SMK Raja Muda Musa which is one of the voting centre in Manong constituency, June 18, 2016. — Picture by Farhan Najib Yusoff
A voter casting his vote in the ballot box at the SMK Raja Muda Musa which is one of the voting centre in Manong constituency, June 18, 2016. — Picture by Farhan Najib Yusoff

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PETALING JAYA, April 9 — Do you mistrust politicians, doubt the sincerity of political parties and believe you would make a better representative of the people?

Then, why not contest as an independent candidate in the 14th general election (GE14)?

Before you jump at the possibility, however, do note that none of the 270 independent candidates contesting in last general election won and many left without their deposits.

That also happens to be the most independents to have contested in a general elections to date.

If that does not deter you, here is how you can start your path to contest as an independent.

If you are Malaysian, reside in the state where you will contest (for state seats) and are at least 21, congratulations — you’re past the first hurdle.

Next, you need be of sound mind, not be bankrupt, have an income and have not been sentenced to a fine of at least RM2,000 or jailed more than a year in Malaysia and Singapore in the past five years.

Should you clear those criteria, it’s on to the money.

For parliamentary seats, you will need to deposit RM10,000 with the Election Commission. State seats are half the amount.

To stand a chance of seeing your money back, however, you must poll at least an eighth or 12.5 per cent of the total ballots cast.

You must also deposit RM5,000 for federal or RM3,000 for state seats before you are allowed to put up any campaign material.

That deposit will be returned if you ensure all your campaign material is removed within two weeks of the election’s completion.

These are, of course, just the absolute minimum you can spend to get your name on the ballot.

The reality is that you must spend significantly more if you hope to see any of your deposit money again.

This shows in the spending limits for the elections, which are RM200,000 for parliamentary constituencies and half that for state seats.

But, hey, think of the perks you will enjoy by being a candidate.

Aside from seeing your name and logo on the ballots, you will also get access to vote counting centres and be allowed to be present when the results are announced.

If that’s a privilege worth your precious ringgit, good luck!

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