At the age of 22, P Prabakaran was the youngest parliamentary member (MP) in the Dewan Rakyat when he won the Batu constituency seat in GE-14.
It is undisputable that Prabakaran won the seat because former Batu MP Tian Chua was not contesting.
Then, Tian Chua was disqualified as a candidate because he was imposed with a RM2,000 fine for insulting a police officer.
Due to the circumstances, he endorsed independent candidate Prabakaran instead. With over 13,000 majority votes in GE-13, Tian Chua’s influence had transferred to Prabakaran, leading to the latter’s victory. Subsequently, Prabakaran joined PKR.
Under the Federal Constitution, it was written that a person who was sentenced to imprisonment of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than RM2,000 would be disqualified for membership of Parliament.
After Pakatan Harapan took over the government after GE-14, Tian Chua filed a fresh appeal over his disqualification.
Over a year later, in November 2019, the High Court decided that Tian Chua’s disqualification is invalid.
Justice Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya came out with the verdict than an MP will only lose his/her right and eligibility to contested if he/she was imposed with a fine of RM2,001 and above.
As Tian Chua’s GE-14 disqualification had been ruled as invalid, people urged Prabakaran to step down from his MP position. This would lead to a fresh by-election which allows Tian Chua to compete for the parliamentary seat.
It was reported that 14 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Batu made a joint statement asking Prabakaran to do so.
Due to the issue, the media exposure of Prabakaran and Tian Chua surged in November. Prior to that, Prabakaran had a low media presence on the media. The Batu MP had a slight spike in May when he was appointed into Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) committee along with five other MPs.
Meanwhile, Tian Chua have always had a higher media exposure compared to Prabakaran despite not being the Batu MP. However, his appearance in the media were mostly about his party, PKR.
In June and July, the PKR vice-president was caught in an internal party drama when several alleged sex videos of PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali were leaked online.
In most of the months for the past year, Prabakaran appeared in less than 10 news monthly.
Malaysia Gazette was the most active medium to report on the Batu MP, with 20 articles published about him.
Other popular media such as Bernama, Sinar Harian, MalaysiaKini and Malay Mail produced about 12 to 14 articles on Prabakaran in the past one-year period.
Overall, the lack of media exposure on Prabakaran would hurt his reputation. Some people said Prabakaran has been working hard for the people of Batu, while others said otherwise.
With the low media presence, people might believe that Prabakaran is not doing enough for the people. Some might even think that he had gone missing after he was elected as an MP.