Syed Saddiq might be named as Muar candidate

PETALING JAYA: Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has dropped a major hint that he will be Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for the Muar parliamentary seat in the coming general election.

“The first candidate PPBM announces is a youth candidate. I think that shows a very serious commitment in forwarding the youth agenda,” Syed Saddiq told the Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia, which said that PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad would name the candidate for Muar at a ceramah tonight.

Muar has a population made up of about 64.4% Malays, 33.7% Chinese and 1.4% Indian, according to the latest census.

The seat is currently held by Johor Umno Youth chief Razali Ibrahim, who is also a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Syed Saddiq, 25, rates his chances of winning the seat at 50:50. He believes the youth factor will work to his advantage. “About 40% of the voters in Muar are below the age of 40. It is also a mixed seat area,” he was quoted as saying.

The independent research body Ilham Centre states that voters aged 21 to 29 make up 17.1% of the electorate, and those aged 30 to 38 comprise 22.8%.

Its executive director Hisommudin Bakar told CNA that the decision to place Syed Saddiq in Muar showed the seat had potential for Pakatan Harapan.

“Muar is a marginal seat for Barisan Nasional. With the current wave and high composition of young voters, Muar is among the winnable seats for PPBM,” he was quoted as saying.

Barisan Nasional’s Razali Ibrahim was returned to the Muar seat in 2013 for a second term. He defeated a PKR candidate by just 1,646 votes from the 40,088 votes cast.

There had been much speculation about the PH candidate for Muar.

Last month, there was talk that PPBM president, former Johor menteri besar Muhyiddin Yassin, would move from Pagoh to Muar, considered safer as Muar has more urban Malay and Chinese constituents.

However, Syed Saddiq said he had been on the ground in Muar to study the needs of the city over the past three months.

He noted an “influx of foreign labour” in manufacturing and food and beverage. “I don’t want to run a very xenophobic tone, but there is almost an over-reliance on foreign labour,” Syed Saddiq was quoted as saying.

He said wages were “simply too low” to attract Malaysians into taking up those jobs and coping with a higher cost of living.

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