PETALING JAYA: Malay-based parties have been urged by two rival youth wing leaders to get rid of patronage politics and feudalistic ways.
The calls came from Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal and Umno Youth deputy leader Shahril Hamdan at a debate hosted by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students.
Wan Fayhsal said that as long as political patronage exists, the moral decay among leaders would fester and further perpetuate a Malay political crisis that might be hard to reverse.
Shahril said young Malay politicians can start by ridding the Malay political system of feudalistic ways. He said support should be given instead based on best policies.
Wan Fayhsal said patronage was the biggest problem in Malay politics and Malay identity. “Look at all the cases involving 1MDB. It has to do with the way we Malays conduct our politics,” he said. “A drastic change is needed, which I believe is the common cause for everyone.”
Earlier, Wan Fayhsal had asked Shahril for his thoughts on patronage and what Umno would do about it.
Shahril said young politicians can start by ridding feudalistic ways in the Malay political system such as the notion “Umno exists because only the party can help Malays”.
He said while some of his party colleagues subscribed to this notion, he would never support it. “I want Malays to support Umno and not because they’re Malays. I want Malays to support Umno because Umno has the best policies and formulas.
“We’ve got to talk to our Malay constituency in a language that doesn’t scare them or create fearmongering. But instead, persuade them to support our parties based on a positive idea, not a scary, negative defensive idea,” he said.
Wan Fayhsal agreed that the belief in a need for a “protector” of the Malays ran deep in the community. He said Malaysia could not move forward with such a mentality: a better future required citizens to transcend race-based considerations.
The two youth leaders also exchanged jibes about the similarity between their two parties.
Wan Fayhsal had said his party, Bersatu, and Umno were ideologically the same, which led to Shahril asking Bersatu to close shop “since they were the same”. In reply, Wan Fayhsal said it was best to let the general election decide which party should close shop.