Amanah Youth chief Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin is the new Pakatan Harapan Youth chief.
However, some in PKR Youth have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision which was made at a Harapan meeting yesterday afternoon.
The position had been vacant since Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman left Harapan last year.
Malaysiakini learnt that Shazni (above) was appointed with majority support from both the Amanah and DAP youth wings in consultation with the Harapan presidential council.
This despite a memo from PKR Youth last month backing their chief Akmal Nasir to head the coalition's youth wing.
In the memo sighted by Malaysiakini, PKR Youth argued they should be in charge as they had strong grassroots support and that Akmal's position as Johor Bahru MP made him a stronger candidate than the others.
They also said that PKR Youth grassroots were upset by proposals from top Harapan leaders to work with those who betrayed PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and that appointing Akmal would cool tempers.
This was alluding to statements from the likes of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu who both proposed continuing cooperation with Dr Mahathir Mohamad after the Harapan government collapsed last year.
PKR Youth secretary Ahmad Syukri Razab, who signed the memo, confirmed its authenticity with Malaysiakini.
A DAP Youth source said the memo was what prompted the wing to unanimously back Shazni for the Harapan Youth chief post.
Another Harapan Youth source said DAP and Amanah youth wings have had difficulty working and getting a consensus from their PKR counterparts on several issues.
Meanwhile, Akmal in a Facebook post yesterday welcomed and congratulated Shazni on his appointment.
"Even though there was urging from the leadership and PKR Youth grassroots for me to be Harapan Youth chief, I chose not to drag on the appointment process in Harapan's political interests," he said.
He urged all in Harapan Youth to work together to ensure that they were a strong and solid youth coalition.
However, other PKR youth leaders were less than welcoming.
“In terms of qualifications, strength of machinery and current needs, PKR Youth should be heading Harapan Youth,” Selangor PKR Youth chief Najwan Halimi said when contacted.
Perlis PKR Youth chief Nor Azam Karap, meanwhile, said that many felt like revolting against the decision.
“Many comrades in PKR Youth are urging for the wing to go on its own without the other two parties' wings,” he told Malaysiakini.
Kota Raja division PKR Youth member Danish Hairuddin, in a statement, also questioned Shazni’s credentials to lead Harapan Youth.
“In what capacity was he (Shazni) made national Harapan Youth chief? He is not an MP or assemblyperson and most significantly he lost in the (Amanah) party elections,” he said.
Shazni had lost to Titi Serong assemblyperson Hasnul Zulkarnain Abdul Munaim in the 2019 Amanah party polls.
However, Hasnul left Amanah to support Perikatan Nasional last year, prompting the party to appoint Shazni as youth chief.
Sabah PKR Youth information chief Razeef Rakimin said besides qualifications, DAP and Amanah's friendliness towards Mahathir and outsiders such as Muda, a new youth-based party, was also a sore point.
"It would be a lie for me to say only PKR Youth (is upset with Shazni's appointment) because friends in Amanah and DAP youth wings have also voiced similar objections," he said.
Razeef today quit as Sabah Harapan Youth secretary over these reasons, adding that there was also a lot of "backstabbing" in pursuit of positions.
Despite the attacks from PKR, DAP Youth chief Howard Lee said he had confidence in the new Harapan Youth leader.
“The qualifications of the three parties' youth chiefs are actually equal and strong; there have been no doubts about the capability of any one of us to lead the Harapan Youth wing.
“Shazni is good at mobilising people and has a good strategy to lead as well.
“Tactically and politically, he is the most suitable candidate as Akmal and myself have a responsibility to fulfil in our constituencies while Shazni can give full commitment to his new position,” Lee said.
Shazni declined to comment on the criticisms when contacted, referring instead to his statement yesterday.
In his statement, the new Harapan Youth chief called on all three parties to band together to help the country’s youths in facing their challenges such as uncertainty over their health and finances due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These realities demand the unification of the strength of the three core Harapan parties.
“Amanah, DAP and PKR youth wings which are quick and responsive are needed to fulfil the hopes of youths in dire straits,” he said.