Muda’s Syed Saddiq says out to prove former mentor Dr Mahathir wrong

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, Nov 2 — Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he was driven to be a better advocate for the Malay underclass than former mentor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after the latter dismissed Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) during its formation.

In an interview with Malay Mail recently, Syed Saddiq said he also hoped to achieve this while employing policies and being in a party that celebrated Malaysia’s multiculturalism.

“If anything, I’d like to prove to him that I will succeed, and that when I do succeed, I can do a better job at ensuring that the lower middle income and poor Malays are better protected,” he said referring to Dr Mahathir, in the interview at his office in SS1 here.

“Because once we make Malaysia richer and more progressive, everyone benefits from it, especially the majority Malays who are from the B40 or B60 category,” he added, referring to bottom 40th and 60th percentile of income earners.

The former youth and sports minister was responding to a question on his relationship with the ex-prime minister.

Syed Saddiq became Dr Mahathir’s Youth chief when the latter formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, and was expelled from the party in the aftermath of the “Sheraton Move” of 2020.

When Dr Mahathir went on to start yet another party — Parti Pejuang Tanah Air — Syed Saddiq chose not to follow and instead ventured out on his own to form what eventually became Muda.

During the interview, he said that he accepted Dr Mahathir’s past criticism of Muda with an “open heart”, and that his disagreement with Dr Mahathir was not personal but purely a difference on “principles” and “policies”.

“Tun Dr Mahathir believes that we still need another Malay-based party. I believe that those days are over.

“You already have too many, and now it is important for us to forge the future for my generation and my children’s generation no longer thinking about decades back,” he said.

To note, Dr Mahathir has consistently been a proponent of affirmative action policies for the Malay or Bumiputera communities, such as the New Economic Policy that was started in the 1970s.

Since Muda’s formation in 2020 and official registration last year, it has risen to prominence through its adept use of social media, which was set to be a key virtual battleground for the 15th general election.

In March this year, just months after it was recognised by the Registrar of Societies, Muda also went on to win its first seats in the Johor state election as part of an informal partnership with PH, which it has since applied to join as a formal member.

In contrast, Pejuang has struggled to form new alliances and was forced to create the Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) informal coalition to recruit non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and smaller parties into its fold.