10 Reasons Why Harapan Must Spurn Muda
And so, Muda wants to join Pakatan Harapan for GE15. What else is new? The only way that Muda can win any seats in the 15th general elections is to align themselves with stronger, longer-established parties either in government or in opposition.
If they thought that they could win seats without this, would they even bother to hold hands with Harapan in the forthcoming elections? Obviously not. Which is why its president, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, has publicly announced that it wants to join Harapan.
Not only that, he is demanding that they be given 15 parliamentary seats to contest in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. If there is a groundswell against Umno/BN and PN in the wake of the Najib Abdul Razak trials, Syed Saddiq and Muda may well become the kingmakers. Now, we can’t have that, can we.
Still, it has not stopped desperate parties within Harapan to court the suave, well-spoken and canny Syed Saddiq. Both DAP and Amanah had an electoral pact with them in Johor but it did absolutely nothing for them but gained Muda one seat which DAP gifted. Muda even contested against PKR in one of the seats.
Many are taken up by Syed Saddiq and his ability to speak to and even galvanise the young and the affluent. Among the urban intelligentsia, he enjoys support out of all proportion to Muda’s base which is rather small right now and which has no political infrastructure to speak of.
Here are 10 reasons why Harapan should reject Muda’s advances to conjugate for GE15.
1. Syed Saddiq is a traitor
Harsh words. But remember, he went along at first with the other traitor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and joined his Pejuang when he formed it in August 2020 after losing control of Bersatu to that other traitor Muhyiddin Yassin.
The traitorous trio included Mohamed Azmin Ali besides Mahathir and Muhyiddin, all of whose conspiring resulted in the collapse of the democratically-elected Harapan government and their replacement by charlatans pretending to have the support of the masses. By aligning himself with Mahathir, Syed Saddiq betrayed Harapan along with all the other MPs who crossed over to either dark side - Mahathir’s or Muhyiddin’s - during the Sheraton Move.
Syed Saddiq was a traitor to Harapan and to re-admit him and allow his Muda into the fold is to allow a possible Trojan horse in again.
2. Syed Saddiq is facing serious charges in court
In July last year, Syed Saddiq was charged in court for misappropriating RM1.12 million from his previous party Bersatu. These are serious charges and if found guilty, he could face a prison term of 10 years, whipping and fines.
A star witness in the trial admitted that it was wrong to have withdrawn money from Bersatu Youth wing Armada's bank accounts and transferred it to Syed Saddiq without approval from the party's supreme leadership, indicating a strong case against him.
Muda is essentially a one-person party. Many people would be hard put to name other Muda leaders. Therefore, for Harapan to ally with such a party, and worse give them 15 seats to contest, would be sheer, utter folly.
3. Syed Saddiq previously had some RM250,000 in cash in his house.
In July 2020, the MACC grilled Syed Saddiq for 11 hours over a report he made a few months earlier in March of that year about the sum of around RM250,000 that he claimed was stolen from his home.
He said most of the missing money was to fund renovations at his house in Petaling Jaya. Of the missing sum, RM90,000 belonged to him whereas RM50,000 belonged to his mother and RM70,000 to his father, he said.
But still, there were concerns as to why someone like him would keep that amount of cash in his house when banking facilities are so easily available.
4. Syed Saddiq is very close to Mahathir.
In 2019, Syed Saddiq openly praised Mahathir using superlatives freely. Sample: “He is a workaholic who never stops working. He listens to everyone's views, regardless of how young you are. He loves unconventional ideas. He has the moral courage to do things which no one else would. He always puts Malaysia first even if it means sacrificing himself. That's Tun (Mahathir's honorific title)”.
Surely, someone who is so enamoured of Mahathir and whose first full-time job (minister of youth and sports) was given to him by Mahathir over many more senior well-deserving candidates, would indicate that he still will have some loyalty to the man! Which brings us to the next point.
5. Syed Saddiq may even be Mahathir’s plant in Harapan
This is not as far-fetched as it seems. Mahathir’s entire premise in the past politically is that the Malays must rule, no compromise, no power sharing. Harapan’s sharing of power principle does not sit well with this, which is why he chose to come into Harapan in the first place. The ultimate aim was Malay supremacy as reflected in everything he said and did after coming to power with a mere 13 MPs.
If Harapan is silly enough to give Muda 15 or even 10 seats and if there was to be a major shift away from Umno/BN, these seats could well tip the balance in favour of Malay supremacy.
Syed Saddiq has been rather slick with his social media posting, reflecting professional production which costs money. People speculate on the source of that money.
Okay, this may all be mere speculation Malaysian-style and Syed Saddiq may well turn out to be as sincere as many people make him out to be, no doubt impressed by his rhetoric, style and looks. But why take the risk? Which brings us to the next and perhaps most important point.
6. Muda brings nothing to the table.
What is it that Muda can give Harapan? Nothing. Where is the political infrastructure to get wins? It’s the existing parties within Harapan - PKR, DAP and Amanah - who will provide the machinery. Syed Saddiq himself - and basically that’s all Muda has to offer - is not sufficiently a brand that is valuable to Harapan.
Bottomline: Muda has everything to gain by riding under Harapan’s sarong and Harapan has everything to lose, much like Mahathir’s Bersatu then with the old maverick becoming PM with a mere 13 seats while PKR, DAP and Amanah had 99 after the polls.
Is Harapan so stupid that they can be taken in twice by the same old tactic? No, common sense (Trojan horse sense?) will prevail this time.
7. Muda can turn turncoat, as Syed Saddiq did before.
Even if Mahathir is no longer a factor - and he is fast becoming a non-entity - one must not discount the possibility of Syed Saddiq taking Muda out of Harapan and aligning with some other group - there are many people out there who want to become PM by hook or by crook and are prepared to pay huge sums for it. And we Malaysians know politicians especially can be bought, especially when the stakes are large.
8. Muda is too young.
We are not talking about youth - we are talking about serious lack of experience here. You need to have a measure of the problem before you can even pretend to be able to solve it. If you are a political party, you can’t be expected to be catapulted into the top ranks without a proper leadership which is more than Syed Saddiq, a wide and varied membership who are willing to work for the party and an infrastructure base to support elections.
Instead, Muda is simply too young for all of these and depends on its partners to provide such support – it’s not youth, it is a baby taking its first stumbling steps. Let Muda grow up first before embracing it into Harapan’s fold. Also, don’t all Harapan’s component parties have youth wings? Why not ask Muda to dissolve and join those wings and rise up to contest elections later? Take their turn in other words.
Why do more experienced and even seasoned politicians from the more established parties have to give way to people with lesser experience? Which brings us to the next point.
9. Muda will undermine Harapan solidarity
When you welcome Johnnies-come-lately into your party and give them prized seats, depriving long-standing members of a chance to serve, there is no way you cannot avoid disappointment and a fall in spirit. That is bound to undermine solidarity within the Harapan parties.
On top of that some parties, especially the DAP, which are perplexingly inclined to continue to court Muda and make other confounding statements, sow the seeds of suspicion within the Harapan coalition, raising questions as to why they support this party and the basis for believing they can succeed.
There is no need to put Harapan in this situation. The next time Muda asks Harapan out, coyly say “some other time” and don’t go out on an exploratory date which would give rise to unnecessary titillating speculation. Better still, say it publicly - “not interested”.
10. Syed Saddiq and Muda don’t size up
A politician’s testimonial is his record. Syed Saddiq, who for all intents and purposes is Muda, simply does not size up as I explained in other columns here and here.
His multiracial and progressive approach does not fit the facts - he joined Bersatu - a Malay-only party. He subsequently supported Mahathir’s racist bumiputera congress held after Mahathir became PM.
But later, he along with the likes of Mohd Shafie Apdal, a former Umno member, talked of forming multiracial parties - the only reason for that turnaround is probably purely opportunistic as they could not go any further touting the racial line.
He admitted to being an Islamic radical in his youth. After he became minister, he had an ambivalent relationship with controversial Islamic cleric Zakir Naik, even inviting him to his house for dinner.
Well, that’s our 10 reasons. For its own good, Harapan should collectively take a strong stance against allying with other parties in elections. Why? Because you can get played again and none of them, with the possible exception of PAS, have anything that they can offer in return.
But PAS is intent on throwing itself at Umno’s feet instead. Its leadership and thinking are poles apart from Harapan’s principles, even openly advocating corruption. So, stick to yourselves, Harapan, and hope for the best. It may be better than you expect. - Mkini
P GUNASEGARAM, a former editor at online and print news publications, and head of equity research, says it is often necessary to stick to the tried and tested and remember the larger purpose always.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.
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