KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Malaysia’s former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman revealed his plans to establish a racially diverse political party that upholds the voice of the youth in the country.
Speaking to CNA in a video interview, the Muar Member of Parliament said that it is high time for politics in Malaysia to cease being “controlled and monopolised by the same old people”.
“If in Thailand they can set up Future Forward, in France they can set up En Marche under Macron, I think it is timely in Malaysia to start up a movement made of young people,” said Syed Saddiq.
The new party, he said, will comprise “young technocrats, professionals, young politicians from different backgrounds” to ensure that the interests of the youths in the country “can never be taken lightly any more”.
Syed Saddiq disclosed the said plans amid campaigning efforts for his mentor and Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s new Malay nationalist party Pejuang — meaning ‘warrior’ or ‘fighter’ — in the Slim by-election.
In a poem written in Malay, published on his personal blog on 12 August, Dr Mahathir criticised Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU), the party he co-founded and was ousted from.
He wrote that the party, which was originally established to save Malaysia from kleptocracy and corruption, has been ‘hijacked’ to “save our enemies” for the love of power and money.
BERSATU was formerly a part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which currently comprises the Democratic Action Party, People’s Justice Party (PKR), and National Trust Party (AMANAH).
Syed Saddiq was formerly the leader of ARMADA, the youth wing of BERSATU.
Pakatan Harapan’s governance came to an abrupt stop when events following the “Sheraton Move” earlier this year saw Dr Mahathir’s then-right-hand man Muhyiddin Yassin taking the mantle of Prime Minister, following a power vacuum left by the former’s resignation from the post.
Bersatu is currently led by Muhyiddin. The party is now part of the Malay-centric Perikatan Nasional alliance with Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
In his poem, Dr Mahathir wrote that Pejuang was borne out of “awareness” of the destructive effects of corruption on Malays.
“If you seek positions and money. Choose another party. If you want to reclaim [your] dignity. If you want to preserve our rights. Choose our party. Choose PEJUANG,” concluded Dr Mahathir.
Pejuang will be aligned with neither Pakatan Harapan nor Perikatan Nasional, he said separately earlier this month.