Syed Saddiq sets sights on ending money politics

Former PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman hopes to change politics through young people.

PETALING JAYA: Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says he did not want to join Pejuang as he wanted to empower the youth and promote a more multiracial Malaysia.

Syed Saddiq recently confirmed he would be forming his own youth-centric party instead of joining Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Pejuang.

He is believed to have chaired a meeting today with about 30 people, who included entrepreneurs, lawyers and activists, about the new party, and is expected to make an announcement soon.

Separately, in an interview with Malaysiakini earlier, he said that an end to money politics was among the aims of his party, as well as to disrupt the political status quo and give young people a greater voice.

“I will always have my respect (for) Mahathir but I think it is time for us to create and harness the energy of multiracial Malaysia and the great diversity that comes with it,” he said.

“I have already informed him (Mahathir) and the leadership of Pejuang of my decision not to join the party and the reasons why. I wish them all the best,”he added.

Syed Saddiq was PPBM Youth chief and also youth and sports minister until the rift in PPBM led to his exit from the party with Mahathir and other MPs.

In the interview, he also touched on how his time at the party had been an eye-opener on political funding.

He said PPBM Youth had sourced funds through crowdfunding and donations before the 2018 general election; once Pakatan Harapan won the election, corporate funding quickly became the norm.

“However, post-election, when we don’t change the culture of money politics, that is when (you have) discussions (on how) these corporates are the ones we need to meet up with and this is how you do it,” he said.

“There is a nominee structure which can be pushed forward, there is a contract structure and there are many other things… Without a big shift, (things) will be the same,” he said, adding how PPBM divisions would “request” for contributions from the party every month.

He said his youth party would take a principled approach towards “genuine and concrete reforms, no matter how hard and unpopular it may be” with young people who had the political will to do so.

Syed Saddiq, who is MP for Muar, said his struggle might come at a cost. “I may lose my seat. I may lose everything. I have come to terms with that,” he said.