Eyes on Saddiq’s Next Move After Absence at Dr M’s New Party Launch

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There has been a wave of departures from Bersatu following the formation of a new Malay-based political party by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, but all eyes are on Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s next move.

The former Bersatu Youth chief, and staunch Mahathir loyalist, was said to be in Johor when he was notably absent from Mahathir’s press conference on Friday where it was announced that the new independent party would uphold Bersatu’s original anti-corruption struggle.

Saddiq’s silence so far has fuelled speculations of plans to form a new youth-based political party in preparation for the 15th general elections.

This would be a departure from the new party, which is expected to be led by senior former Bersatu leaders aligned to Mahathir and his son Mukhriz, as its temporary chairperson and president.

Malaysiakini has repeatedly attempted to contact Syed Saddiq for comments.

When contacted, former Bersatu Youth exco member Ulya Aqamah Husamudin, who earlier today announced his departure from the party, hinted that plans are afoot for a new youth-based movement.

“For now, we are discussing and planning. What is confirmed is we will start a youth movement,” Ulya told Malaysiakini.

“Whether it translates to a party is yet to be confirmed because some other youth party members may also join the bandwagon,” he said when quizzed on future plans involving Saddiq.

Saddiq was among former Bersatu leaders who challenged their sacking from the party, including former Bersatu secretary-general Marzuki Yahya, Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah, and Sri Gading MP Shahruddin Md Salleh. They all, except Saddiq, have come out to back Mahathir’s new political platform.

Among current youth movements in the country include the Liga Rakyat Demokratik, which among others, had backed the recent Parlimen Digital initiative that gathered 222 youth representatives for a two-day virtual Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Its secretary-general Amir Abdul Hadi told Malaysiakini that while the idea of forming a new youth-based political party has repeatedly come up for discussion, it has not proceeded beyond the initial stages since prior to the last general election.

“I would be lying if I said the idea was never discussed, but nothing concrete came out of it,” he said when asked about developments following the recent political upheavals.

Amir pointed out that their movement had started since 2015, and leading up to GE14, launched a campaign in support of Pakatan Harapan’s youth candidates from DAP, Bersatu, and Amanah.

Several of their endorsed candidates eventually went on to become elected representatives, including DAP’s Paloh assemblyperson Sheikh Omar Ali and Ketari assemblyperson Young Syefura Othman.

With rumours rife that the next GE15 could be called ahead of its deadline in 2023, Amir said Liga Rakyat Demokratik will remain as an NGO to carry out charitable activities, including a recent aid distribution for vulnerable communities during the movement control order.

“Even if there is to be a new youth-based political party, Liga Rakyat Demokratik will not be involved en bloc.

Alyaa Alhadjri/Malaysiakini

“There could however be our members who contest in GE15,” he said, adding that its current members include youth politicians from existing parties.

“We (Liga Rakyat Demokratik) have our own mission and vision that will remain unchanged,” he added.

Meanwhile, in announcing his new party, Mahathir, who just celebrated his 95th birthday last month, said a reason for this move was because Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin had “hijacked” the party.

The new “independent” party, according to the Langkawi MP, would not be tied to Perikatan Nasional or Harapan following disagreements with PKR, but could be the deciding force in determining which bloc wins the next general election.

The move to create the new party has already triggered defections, including the disbanding of Bersatu’s Klang division. – Malaysiakini