Young Malaysian lawmaker, 27, forms new political party Muda with multiracial outlook

Former Malaysian Youth and Sports minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (centre) displaying a document after registering his new party at the Registrar of Societies in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Sept 17, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - A lawmaker who holds the record as Malaysia's youngest Cabinet minister, Mr Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, on Thursday (Sept 17) formally applied to register a new political movement targeting youth members

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, or Muda, if approved, will add to the country's confusing mix of parties and alliances.

Mr Syed Saddiq, the 27-year old MP for Muar in Johor, applied to register Muda at the Registrar of Societies (ROS) headquarters on Thursday, The Star online news reported.

He told reporters that despite the proposed name, Muda will not limit the age of its members.

"This party will represent all levels of society, regardless of race, religion and age. This party welcomes those who share our ideology, idealism, understanding and our struggle," he was quoted by The Star as saying.

"Muda will be a party for all races and religions, whose leaders will be a majority of young individuals."

Mr Syed Saddiq was 25 when he was appointed youth and sports minister in 2018 soon after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration came to power, making him the youngest federal minister since Malaysia's independence.

He was a lawmaker for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and chief of its youth wing, called Armada, when the party was led by then chairman Mahathir Mohamad.

Tun Dr Mahathir, Mr Syed Saddiq and four other Bersatu MPs were in May sacked from the party after they sat with opposition MPs in a parliamentary session that month.

While Dr Mahathir and the other sacked MPs have formed a new Malay-based party, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Fighters of the Nation Party), Mr Syed Saddiq has decided to form a new multiracial party targeted at the youth.

Dr Mahathir has said that Mr Syed Saddiq's party won't go far, but he has replied that to move the country forward one has to look at issues from a multiracial perspective.

Mr Syed Saddiq told reporters on Thursday that many people have indicated their interest to join the party.

"They are keen to bring new politics into the country, so that we will no longer be bogged down with old politics that has made it difficult for us to move forward," he said.

Asked if he will be the president of Muda, Mr Syed Saddiq said he would announce the party structure later.

Pejuang and Muda added to other names thrown into the political ring in the last six months.

When PH was toppled, a new alliance, Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) - consisting of 12 factions - took over the country.

Bersatu, which is now led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, then decided to join the alliance of the two largest Malay-Muslim parties in Malaysia, Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia. The now three-party group is called Muafakat Nasional (National Consensus).

Meanwhile, four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) linked to Senior Minister Azmin Ali will soon be joining Bersatu.

Datuk Seri Azmin himself only recently joined Bersatu with 10 other MPs after defecting from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

The NGOs about to join Bersatu are Penggerak Komuniti Negara, Nation of Women, Pemuda Negara and Wanita Muda Negara.

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