Will Prabakaran make history in Batu?

If elected, Prabakaran will become the country’s youngest MP, beating the record held by Najib

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

P Prabakaran has come out as Pakatan Harapan’s wildcard after incumbent Batu MP Tian Chua, who has held the Batu parliamentary seat since 2008, failed to initiate legal proceedings to reverse the Election Commission’s decision of disqualify him in the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14).

The 22-year-old law student is contesting for the parliamentary seat as an independent candidate and was endorsed by Chua immediately after the High Court ruling.

If elected, Prabakaran will become the country’s youngest MP, beating the record held by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

In an effort to retain the Opposition’s presence in the federal constituency, the two-term MP issued a statement on his Facebook page urging all Batu constituents to stack their votes for the “key” candidate.

“We have come to understand the legal procedure would not be carried out in time for the election. Therefore, after discussions with party leaders, we have decided to shift our support and resources towards the independent candidate, Prabakaran,” Chua noted.

Chua said Prabakaran has agreed to support Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto and reform agenda, as well as fight to win majority seats and defer from any tactics that will cause PKR to lose its seat automatically to Barisan Nasional.

Prabakaran said he had always respected and looked up to Chua as a mentor, and he and his family living in the Batu constituency have been PKR supporters from the start.

Being the youngest candidate, Prabakaran aims to woo young voters by standing up for the rights of youths.

He also plans to bring down the voting age from 21 to 18, improve public infrastructure, make the townships more disabled-friendly, improve vocational as well as tertiary education, and increase internship opportunities for youths.

The third-year law student kicked off his campaign with a six-minute clip on YouTube, explaining why he wants to run and why people should vote for him.

Prabakaran hopes his participation in the political arena would inspire other young Malaysians to follow in his footsteps for the coming general elections.

On his legal proceedings, Chua said the implication of the High Court decision was far reaching.

“This is a blow to free and fair election. It means if a person is disqualified as a candidate, there is no immediate legal recourse to challenge that,” said Chua, who sought a declaration under Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution that he is qualified to run for the constituency this GE14.

On April 28, Chua’s nomination was rejected by returning officer Anwar Md Zain, who disqualified him over a RM2,000 fine imposed in a 2017 court case. The sentence was in relation to his conviction four years ago, over insulting a police officer with foul language.

The decision to disqualify Chua was made according to Section 7(1)(c) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981, read together with Article 48(1)(e) — which stated Chua could only qualify if the fine were RM1,999.99 or less.

The Shah Alam High Court, which allowed Chua’s appeal to reduce the fine from RM3,000 to RM2,000, had explicitly spelled out that the MP would only be disqualified if “the fine was RM2,001 and above, and not from RM2,000”.

In 2011, Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia also ruled the RM2,000 fine would not automatically remove Chua from his role.