PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang launched a new multi-ethnic non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Pertubuhan Daya Masyarakat Malaysia (Daya) today, calling it above politics.
He denied that Daya, which he chairs, will be a political platform for his personal interest.
He said that the political crisis that caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in February has led to civil society losing hope in politics itself.
“In a time of confusing political strife, Daya acts as a healer to bring various currents of thought and races together.
“We are above politics, but we are not allergic to politics.
“We want to bring about a new Malaysia,” he said during his speech at the launch in the MBPJ Civic Hall in Petaling Jaya today.
The former Batu MP, more popularly known by his moniker Tian Chua, said he still remains a rightful member and vice-president of PKR.
“To me, I set up this organisation as we have our own philosophy. It does not go against anyone,” he said.
Chua said Daya will build the people’s resilience by resolving their problems in a concrete manner, especially those economically related post-Covid-19.
The group will also empower the community through skills training and forge closer community ties, he said.
Chua described the setting up of the group in the wake of the country’s political crisis at the end of February as a mere coincidence.
“People are welcomed to compare Daya against other organisations to see how our methodologies differ.
“It is also coincidental that they (other ex-PKR leaders) have set up their respective movements. This does not mean we will join hands to form a new political platform,” Chua added.
Previously, several youth leaders aligned with former party deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali set up Pemuda Negara.
Among those leading the movement are Seberang Jaya rep Afif Bahardin and Gombak Setia rep Hilman Idham, who followed Azmin in quitting PKR.
Chua, who is a known close ally of Azmin, did not follow in their footsteps.
“I am not quitting politics. I am still a PKR member and vice-president. I am just not an MP anymore and I am missing all the excitement in Parliament now.
“If there is a general election I may contest again. But for now, I will expend my energy to generate a momentum in activism that has disappeared.
“I was at the Bersih and anti-ISA (Internal Security Act) demonstrations, and many others. I want to bring the spirit of activism back to life,” he added.
Several activists gave speeches about reform before Chua’s speech, including Hishamuddin Rais, Chief Human Rights Strategist at the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, Firdaus Husni and academic Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Hassan.
Hishamuddin in his speech said that Daya is a platform for activists to fight back and bring about political reform in the country.
“We had two viruses in 2020: the coronavirus and the prime minister virus.
“The desire to be prime minister has destroyed Pakatan Harapan and all our hopes for structural change collapsed and disintegrated with it,” he said, alluding to the jockeying between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the position even after the collapse of the coalition.
Daya also announced several steering committee members, including Chua as the chairman; academics Nik Abdul Aziz and Halim Ali; former activist Kamaruzzaman Yaacob; artiste Ito Muhammad; lawyer Bah Tony; Sungai Wang Group executive chairman Derrick Tan; former Wangsa Maju MP Tan Kee Kwong; former Rawang assemblyman Gan Pei Nei; and former Bersih 2 co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Daya’s launch was also attended by political, NGO and civil society leaders, including Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, Gombak Setia assemblyman Hilman Idham, Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin, Sementa assemblyman Dr Daroyah Alwi, and Lembah Jaya assemblyman and former Senator Syed Shahrir Syed Mohamud.
Members of another NGO linked with Azmin, Penggerak Komuniti Nasional, were also seen in their uniforms at the launch.