#GE14: How To Become An Election Candidate

It's not as complicated as you think.

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#GE14: How To Become An Election Candidate
Image: Antara Pos
Last week, nominations for the 14th General Election (GE14) officially took place on 28 April.
On nomination day, candidate would register to contest for a parliamentary seat in the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) or a state seat in the State Legislative Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri).
There are also instances where a candidate runs as both a member of parliament and state assemblyman.
Each candidate would either be a nominee from any political party or stand as an independent candidate.
Yup, independent candidate. That explains why you must have seen some unusual names and faces plastered everywhere during this campaigning season.

Now this is where the election process starts to get more interesting.

How Does One Register As A Candidate

The Election Commission (EC) would set up nomination centres at the district office, town hall, community centre or any location that is deemed appropriate.
You'll be seeing a lot of this in a few days' time.
In case you didn’t know, technically, anyone can register as a candidate as long as you are a Malaysian citizen aged 21 years old and above.
However, you will be disqualified if the EC discovers that you’re either bankrupt, not of a sound mind, currently a salaried employee in an organisation, a citizen of another country or have pledged allegiance to a foreign country, or have been sentenced to jail for no less than one year or fined no less than RM2,000 without pardon.
Once a candidate is ready to register, he or she would then have to fill up a series of forms and present them in person to the returning officer (the person who represents a constituency on behalf of the EC).
Candidates representing a political party must use their respective party symbol or logo.
But for independent candidates, they can only choose from any of the following symbols provided by the EC. Some of them may raise a few eyebrows:
A mangosteen? Really?
These symbols would be printed on the ballot papers for polling day.
Interestingly, candidates are allowed to use nicknames or glamorous titles on the ballot paper so that voters can identify them easily.
However, the candidate’s name on the nomination form must be according to the MyKad, of course, because the general election is no fun and games.

What Happens On Nomination Day

Besides submitting the nomination papers, candidates would also be required to pay a deposit to contest – RM10,000 for a parliamentary seat and RM5,000 for a state assembly seat.
Additionally, each candidate would need to fork out another RM5,000 deposit to clean up banners, posters and other campaign materials after the election because that’s going to be one heck of a mess to clean up!
This deposit will be returned to them after polling day, but they’ll lose the deposit if they gain less than one-eighth of the total number of votes in their respective constituencies.
The candidates have only one hour between 9am and 10am to deliver all their necessary documents on nomination day.
Then, the nomination papers would be displayed for another hour until 11am on the same day should there be any objection on their eligibility, while the returning officers check that all the forms are complete.
If the returning officers find that only one candidate is eligible to contest in a constituency, then he or she will be declared as the sole winner and elected representative uncontested.
Once everything is in place, the candidates would officially run for election.
Where will you be voting this year?

Campaign Period Begins

Campaigns would happen almost immediately after the nominations are finalised and last all the way until midnight before polling day.

This is the season where we see big tours, rallies and talks held by the candidates. We would hear all kinds of promises and guarantees made during this time as well.

There are certain rules to follow during the campaigning period. Each parliament candidate can spend a maximum of RM200,000, while state assembly candidates are allowed a limit of up to RM100,000.

Should illegal forums, improper materials or overspending occur, a task force set up by the EC would remove anything that does not abide by election laws.

Finally, when polling day comes, the rakyat would then exercise our right to vote and wait for the moment a candidate’s life is changed forever.

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