Although this election is essentially a fight between BN and PR, there is a record number of independents being nominated. There are many 3 cornered or even 4 cornered fights.
Basically, there are 2 main categories of independent candidates. Some decided to join the fray because they expect their respective parties to select them but for certain reasons they were not given the nod. Some may have worked the ground for many years, and thus they feel that their effort has been ignored when their party did not choose them for certain strategic reasons.
This group has put their own self-interest above that of the party. Some of them are for BN some are from PR. But whichever side they are from, they have not put the big picture above their own self. Some may have been preaching for a 2 party system all this while, and suddenly they are standing as an independent third force, forgetting their earlier pledge to fight for a 2 party system.
Another category of independents are sponsored candidates to enhance the chances of the side who is sponsoring the candidate. This may sound ironical, but by taking away votes from certain section of the people, they actually help the sponsoring side (usually the incumbents ) to win. This has been a classic strategy(trick) used in certain areas , especially in a mixed seats .
This time, there is also an isolated case in Kelantan where the BN candidate did not turn up for nomination and thus let a PAS candidate to have a straight fight with Ibrahim Ali, purportedly standing as an independent but with blessing from you-know-who. This is all about strategy and I need not elaborate since my readers know what sort of strategy is being played out there.
In this election, the choice for the people is very clear. It is either you vote for change or you vote for ‘1Malaysia’ status quo . The choice is that simple.
So I do not expect any of the independents to win. However, in certain areas where there is a close fight, they can siphon away enough votes to make a difference. Even if they can siphon away a hundred votes, this may prove to be crucial in deciding the outcome in a very close fight.
I hope some of those independents in the first category will reconsider their positions and withdraw and let there be straight fight between the 2 big coalitions. I hope they will look at the big picture and not let emotion and self-interest interfere.
I do not expect my plea to have any effect on the second category– those who are sponsored. Their presence has been carefully calculated and thus they are there to stay.
Even in Pandan, where OTK’s proxy is satnding as an independent, I hope he can be big enough to withdraw the proxy and let there be a straight fight. In a contest where the results are expected to be close, every seat is crucial.