Muda in pact talks with all opposition except “court cluster”

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Muda is in the midst of meeting with the opposition parties, including Sabah-based party Warisan, in the lead up to the general election, said party co-founder Dr Thanussha Francis Xavier.

Xavier told The Malaysian Insight Muda will have to work with other political parties as the Registrar of Societies is refusing to register the youth movement as a political party.

“We have also taken them (RoS) to court. The reality is we will need a party going into GE15. (Whether) we have a firm agreement on this yet, no,” she said.

“We are at a stage of meeting party leaders. We have spoken to Warisan and are actively meeting with other leaders.

“Last week we met Mat Sabu (Amanah president Mohamad Sabu) and (DAP secretary-general Lim) Guan Eng. This week you will see us meeting Tun (Pejuang founder Dr Mahathir Mohamad) and Anwar (PKR president Anwar Ibrahim).”

Last month, Muda co-founder Mutalib Uthman confirmed the party was in talks with Warisan to help the Sabah-based party make its entry into the peninsula.

Xavier said the party is in need of a partner urgently because GE15 is expected to be held this year.

“If we’re talking about two or three years down the road (election), no rush. But if it is really going to be this year, then we’re going to go out there and say, ‘Hello, who will have us, we would love to work with you, we want to run’.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

“When we get closer to the election, we will have to work with someone, we need a flag. We have no preference. We are happy to work with anyone who will have us. Any of the opposition parties that are willing to work with us, that’s great.”

Xavier, however, said a decision to be part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition has not been made, but wants the opposition to present a united front in the elections for a better shot at winning.

“We are not negotiating to be part of any coalition. We will work with anybody. Are we going to be one big fat coalition or are we just going to use the flag? It will be decided closer to the election.

“What we want to do is be united with the opposition; we firmly believe in a united opposition front and that’s what we’re working on.

Muda’s only condition is that it will not work with the “court cluster”, as the Umno leaders who are facing trial are known.

“Our redline is we don’t want to work with anyone affiliated with ‘cluster mahkamah’. At least at this point in time, the opposition is not working with ‘cluster mahkamah’. That is good for us and we’re happy to work with anyone in the opposition.”

No news from RoS

On Muda’s application to RoS, Xavier said the party has not received any update on its application to register.

“We said that we want to champion issues that matter to youth aged 15 and above. But we also stated that you need to be 18 years old and above to be a member. So, they (RoS) questioned the discrepancy.

“But it’s actually two different things. If an association wants to champion animal rights, you don’t need to be an animal. Those are petty little details.

“Then they said: ‘You’re a youth party but you didn’t limit the age’, which is not our intention either. We want to be youth-led but our party membership is open to even those 70 and more.”

The Muda co-founder said although they have addressed all the issues raised by the RoS, the registrar said they are still not done conducting security checks.

“The latest feedback from RoS is that the co-founders have not cleared security screening. Not that it’s an issue, it’s still being done.

“No timeline has been given. Last week we sent them a letter saying that if we do not hear a response soon, we will go back to court.”

Muda members remain committed to cause

Meanwhile, Muda leaders denied rumours that the original party members have quit, saying the people in the movement are is still very much committed to the cause.

“All of the original proponents, the 13 co-founders and sponsors are still very much with Muda,” Xavier said.

Selangor Muda state committee member Chiang Kah Vern had recently taken to Twitter to air his displeasure at being kicked out of a WhatsApp group.

Chiang went on to list the reasons he had left the party, accusing Muda of tokenism attempts at diversity, lack of direction and arrogance in refusing to work with others such as Pakatan Harapan.

“Kah Vern was involved in the state committees and they had a disagreement. It definitely could have been handled better on our side. I don’t think it is fair to just remove someone from a WhatsApp group. They should have communicated with him.”

“(As for the) tokenism and all that, that’s not the case. We really believe in what we’re doing, and we are pushing on that front. He’s entitled to his opinion, but I’m clueless about what he’s referring to.

“We have over 30,000 members, it would be great if we could keep all of them, but I don’t really think it’s shocking (that one should leave),” Xavier said.

The Muda co-founder reiterated that the party remains united.

“All of us, we’re doing this not for our personal agenda. We all left what we were doing, professional careers, businesses, academicians.

“This is a difficult task, the only reason we’re doing this is because of passion. We’re all very united and we’re clear on this.

“There have been many individuals that have come in and changed their commitment because it is demanding, and a lot of people are still working their day jobs or have families. We are flexible because politics is voluntary. We do not exclude anyone from any process,” she said.

Lawyer Lim Wei Jiat, who is also a co-founder of the party, said while many supported Muda at the start, it didn’t mean that they wanted to be part of the day-to-day operations of the party.

“There were many business and civil society leaders across the board who were supportive of Muda as a party at the beginning.

“But that doesn’t mean they want to be involved in running and leading the party, which is very fair.

“I don’t think anybody has left or had put distanced themselves from the party, it’s just that they chose to focus on their current roles while being supportive of Muda from the outside.” – TMI