PETALING JAYA: Gerak Independent (Gerak), a joint initiative promoting independents for the next general election (GE15), today announced the names of six of its candidates.
The six are human rights lawyer and activist Siti Kasim, former Umno MP for Sungai Benut Tawfik Ismail, former journalist Charles CJ Chow, Wangsa Maju resident Raveentheran Suntheralingam, activist KJ John, and Sabah-based lawyer Roland Cheng.
At a press conference today, Gerak said it would be fielding a maximum of 10 candidates in GE15.
However, there was no announcement on the constituencies they would be contesting in.
Gerak, which had previously touted itself as a third force, said it was open to forming strategic alliances with other parties or individuals to further its cause, which ultimately aims to make the country fairer to all.
Gerak candidates will be tied to five commitments — the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), ending divisive politics, restoring guaranteed freedom to the rakyat, restoring institutional power back to the rakyat, and establishing a needs-based affirmative policy or poverty-eradication programme.
The joint initiative, launched in August last year, is headed by the Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity Foundation (MAJU) along with other NGOs.
MAJU founder Siti Kasim, who is also one of the independent candidates, said their focus is to change Malaysia through the only viable solution — Parliament.
Also speaking at the press conference, Tawfik did not confirm whether or not he would be contesting the Simpang Renggam (formerly Sungai Benut) seat in GE15.
He added Gerak would not just be contesting in urban constituencies but aimed to fight in places “where the bull frogs thrive”, referring to top guns in politics.
A short profile of the six candidates:
- Tawfik Ismail
This former Umno MP for Sungai Benut promises to bring to Parliament “the hopes and aspirations of all Malaysians”.
He said one of their biggest challenges is national integration and MA63. He aims to reinstate the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians who have been discriminated.
- Charles CJ Chow
A resident of Petaling Jaya with vast experience in law, human resources and communications, he is also a former journalist.
He said he wanted to contest as an independent to serve the people, instead of the interests of political parties.
He hoped the people would be able to look beyond political parties when casting their vote in GE15.
- Raveentheran Suntheralingam
A Wangsa Maju resident, formerly with the Institute of Engineering and Technology, he has vast experience in community service. He aims to solve urban poverty issues in areas like Wangsa Maju.
- KJ John
Born in Kedah, John is a retired civil servant. He has 33 years of experience as an administrative and diplomatic service officer.
He aims to improve the service of local governments and councils, and to eliminate corruption and bribery from the ground up. He is also seeking to reinstate local council elections.
- Roland Cheng
A practising lawyer based in Sabah, Cheng is a member of the honourable society of Lincoln’s Inn and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an adjudicator of the AIAC.
- Siti Kasim
An active human rights lawyer, Siti advocates the separation of religion and state.
She said powers to manage Islam should be returned back to the sultans, as provided by the Federal Constitution.
“Our federal government must make sure all Malaysians should be looked after, no matter their race or faith.”
Siti is also renowned for her work in helping the Orang Asli fight for their land rights in several court cases.
The public may view their profiles at: https://gerakindependent.com/candidate
Aside from the announcement of candidates, Gerak also launched a mobile app, Gerak App, which aims to improve communication between members of the public and the independent candidates.
Users can download the app to communicate and fund their preferred representatives.
The app is available for free on Android, iOS and Huawei platforms.