KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said today he and his Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) party would rather be punished than commit a grave sin by violating their own righteous principles after having announced their intention of becoming an Opposition party.
Ahead of a six-day special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow, Muda had earlier decided to withdraw from the unity government and to sit in the opposition bloc as a “third force”, thereby denying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration a two-third parliament supermajority.
In a live-streaming session broadcasted across all major social media platforms, Syed Saddiq emphasised that the ‘difficult’ decision was driven mainly by the current government’s move to drop 47 charges against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a trial involving alleged corruption.
Stating that Muda wished not to play safe and remain silent as this was not reflective of the party’s initial founding and struggles, Syed Saddiq acknowledged that the road ahead will be lonely and long.
“Unfortunately, while the left hand says we should fight (corruption), the right hand proceeds to free them instead.
“To me that is a clear breach of the line, because believe me my friends, this is not the end as there will be more after another where court cases are dropped.
“But it’s okay as long as we stick to our principles and put our faith in the very institutions we seek to strengthen which I am confident will set Malaysia towards a recovery path.
“It is better to be alone than lose one’s principle and honour, and today’s decision was made so I could sleep soundly,” he said.
Syed Saddiq also sought to stress his commitment and support towards federal government proposed laws in Parliament if those Bills are “progressive” and intended for reforms, doubling down on his statement issued earlier.
“Do not fret, I am giving my commitment now, no problem at all but I will not be silent.
“In fact, I will be an honourable member of the Opposition, one that will raise the people’s concern and hold the government accountable,” he said.
Without Syed Saddiq sitting in the government bloc, the unity government would only have 147 MPs on its side — which is one MP short of the 148 MPs required to make two-thirds of the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.
Government Bills that would need two-thirds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat would include those proposing amendments to the Federal Constitution, such as a long-awaited amendment to enable overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers to automatically be Malaysian citizens (just like the overseas-born children of Malaysian fathers).
Syed Saddiq also sought to address naysayers who had demanded him to vacate his Parliament seat and for betrayal of his voters’ trust, hitting out at them for their hypocrisy against corruption.
“If I am to vacate my seat for wanting to fight corruption, then those critics and MP who are badgering me should get themselves a mirror.
“I have remained consistent till this day,” he said.