PETALING JAYA: The elections may be a serious affair but there was a lot of colour and smiles and drama too as some rather unusual and unorthodox candidates decided to throw their hats into the ring.
There was social activist and serial police report maker Rani Kulup Abdullah, well known for his “Kipidap, dongibab” (Keep it up, don’t give up) tagline, complete with his red traditional suit, tanjak (headdress) and his signature dark sunglasses.
And there was eccentric celebrity Diva AA, who decided not to take on brother Datuk Seri Azmin Ali at the last minute because their “mother had come in his dreams” to advise him against it.
Then, there was carpet seller Deepak Jaikishan – the erstwhile Gerakan candidate for Pulai in Johor who ended up in Klang – and social activist Uncle Kentang.
There was also a visually impaired man who just missed submitting his nomination papers.
Diva AA, whose real name is Azwan Ali, sobbed in front of the media as he told of his mother’s advice.
“Mak Tom comes into my dreams often and she advised me to not contest in GE15. I always visit her grave to pour out my heart, and I know she is listening,” he said.
He had taken on his brother in Gombak in 2018 but polled only 90 votes.
In Klang, Deepak, a former associate of jailed prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, surprised everyone when he stood as an Independent in Klang after quitting Perikatan, which had earlier named him for Pulai.
“I don’t agree with Perikatan’s agenda as well as the restrictions it had placed on me,” he said.
Deepak, who owns a carpet business, has sued Najib and Rosmah over an alleged conspiracy that he claimed led to him suffering losses but the case was thrown out by the court.
In Titiwangsa, visually-impaired man retiree Habib Bourguiba Abd Hamid, 53, was denied entry into the nomination centre when he arrived two minutes after nominations closed.
He said he had left his house at Kampung Datuk Keramat at 8.50am but was unable to arrive on time due to traffic conditions and road closures.
Titiwangsa election officer Firdzaus Said met Habib at the gate and explained to him that he was too late.
Meanwhile in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan, the 67-year-old Rani Kulup came dressed in his usual Malay regalia accompanied by supporters cheering “Kipidap, dongibab!”.
Another well-known social activist Uncle Kentang, whose real name is Kuan Chee Heng, has decided to try his luck in the Puchong parliamentary seat after losing the Semenyih state seat in the 2019 by-election.
“There is one Chinese uncle who you can meet at the mamak, the office or even the markets, and when you don’t have money to buy food,” said Kuan, 59.
“I am not the kind that only surfaces every five years. You can meet me anywhere,” he posted on his Facebook.