Call us Umno 2.0 but we can barely raise RM1 million, says Syed Saddiq

KUALA LUMPUR: PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman today hit back at those who label his party “Umno 2.0” following the controversial speech by a PPBM vice-president who said in December that government contracts should be channelled to division leaders.

“I can tell you as one of the founders of PPBM that we can barely raise RM1 million.

“As for Barisan Nasional (BN), at a snap of a finger, corporate actors can come and would be more than glad to donate millions of ringgit,” he said in his keynote address at C4’s conference on conflict of interest here.

Syed Saddiq, who is youth and sports minister, said there was still an unequal playing field despite the change of government.

He also claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) was operating on significantly less funds than the smallest component party in BN.

“The fact is that BN, in one of its many fund raising campaigns, can get more than RM100 million, even when its accounts are frozen, and still have an asset share of more than RM1 billion.

“This is indicative of how powerful it is financially. I am just talking about party assets,” he said.

His comments follow criticism hurled at PPBM by former Bersih chief Ambiga Sreenevasan, who said it was slowly turning into “Umno 2.0”.

Apart from condemning Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s speech at the party’s general assembly last year, she said PPBM had failed to address criticism over the “dubious” academic qualifications of its secretary-general Marzuki Yahya.

“There are so many such instances, and it is happening in PPBM. Which is why it is looking more and more like Umno 2.0. That has to be addressed,” she said.

In his speech today, Syed Saddiq said there was also an unequal playing field in the area of media freedom.

“It is undeniable that the media is more liberated than before. But Umno’s control over some media channels is still prominent,” he said.

“The way forward is not to demonise. They should still be respected. (My point here is that) there is still an unequal playing field.”