Want to be a wakil rakyat? Other than getting the votes, you would need sufficient funds to make it through the whole election process.
For starters, candidates have to deposit RM10,000 for a parliamentary seat and RM5,000 for a state seat, to the Returning Officer before or during nomination day. A candidate loses the deposit if he/she fails to secure 1/8 or 12.5% of the total number of votes polled by all the candidates in a constituency.
This is just the deposit. Candidates put up buntings, banners, posters and other materials during the campaign period. They have to clean up the mess after polling day. To make sure they do, candidates have to pay a deposit of RM5,000 for parliamentary elections and RM3,000 for state elections. This deposit will be returned if the candidates remove all the materials put up in public places within 14 days after the election.
There are also other costs in running a campaign, such as logistics, materials, etc. However, there is a limit to how much they can spend in their campaign – officially anyway. Candidates are allowed to incur expenses of up to RM200,000 for parliamentary seats and RM100,000 for state assembly seats only.
The report or return of election expenses has to be forwarded to the State Election Officer within 31 days after the election results are published in the Gazette. Failure to submit the return within the prescribed time would be deemed an illegal practice under the Election Offences Act, 1954. The person convicted of this offence can face a fine of RM5,000 and lose the seat. He/she can also be disqualified from contesting for five years.
It’s not cheap to contest in an election in Malaysia, although it’s nowhere near the millions of dollars splurged in the race to be president of the United States, which involves a more complex funding regulation.
(Source: Election Commission, election laws)