JOHOR BARU, Sept 9 — Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman refused to comment today on his party’s threat to withdraw support for the unity government, hinting that it was still to be decided.
His reply today was the opposite of his keen support for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition during last year’s general election.
The Muar MP indicated that Muda would discuss whether to withdraw its support and prevent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government from being able to regain its parliamentary supermajority.
“I’m a party man. Everything will be decided by the party.
“But for today, I think no one is allowed to campaign openly,” he said in a brief reply to reporters at the SK Taman Sutera voting centre in Taman Perling here today.
Syed Saddiq is Muda’s sole parliamentary representative.
He also declined to say if Muda was waiting for today’s Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-election results before coming to a decision.
“We will talk about the people’s issues and on our (Muda’s) stance in Parliament.
“Let’s use our constitutional rights to vote for today,” he said.
Syed Saddiq’s reply was a stark contrast to his previous stand last year where shortly before the 15th general election (GE15), Muda had applied to be included into PH as the coalition’s component party.
At that time, the former youth and sports minister, was confident that Muda will be accepted as PH’s fifth component party.
He was quoted as saying that Muda’s inclusion in PH could trigger positive competition among coalition partners to field more young and talented candidates.
However, even after GE15 Muda’s application to be a part of PH was met with little progress. The youth-oriented party then decided to go solo for the recent six state elections after efforts to form an alliance with the PH were ignored.
On Monday, deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Umno president, was conditionally discharged from 47 charges of dishonestly misappropriating RM31 million belonging to his charitable organisation called Yayasan Akalbudi about two days ago.
The discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) was criticised by many political observers and civil society groups.
Following this, Syed Saddiq and Muda secretary-general Amir Abd Hadi have said they would not hesitate to withdraw their party’s support for the unity government if the attorney general did not give a proper explanation.
Syed Saddiq went a step further, saying Muda will campaign and hold street demonstrations if its demands are not met, while Amir declared that the DNAA to be “the biggest red line” that has been crossed.
On Thursday, Muda deputy president Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz also echoed her party colleague’s criticism about the DNAA.
The Puteri Wangsa assemblyman said that the Anwar-led Madani government needs to prove its anti-corruption stance through action and not just in words.
Voters in Pulai and Simpang Jeram in Johor will be casting their ballots for the parliamentary seat and state assembly seat respectively in twin by-elections today.
Earlier, the Election Commission said that the number of people who have voted as of 4pm today is 42 per cent for Pulai and 56 per cent for Simpang Jeram.
Pulai has a total of 166,653 voters while there are 40,488 voters in Simpang Jeram.