Muda’s exit: No significant impact, just a political drama - Experts

11 Sep 2023 02:39pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

SHAH ALAM – The decision by the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to lead his party out of the unity government is unlikely to significantly impact the government's stability, experts say.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political expert Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam pointed out that Muda’s departure from the unity government lacked significant implications for this government, with only minimal impact at best.

“From what we can observe, this appears to be a political drama aimed at garnering public attention for the Muda party. There are several situations that seem to contradict his (Syed Saddiq) own statements,” he told Sinar Daily.

Aziz said for instance, if Syed Saddiq was dissatisfied with the outcome of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s case, why did he choose to remain part of the government until yesterday.

Recently, the High Court on Sept 4 discharged not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) Zahid from all 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering in relation to Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

“During Zahid's time, when he faced 47 charges and held the position of Deputy Prime Minister, the party was part of the unity government,” Aziz stressed.

He further elaborated that this situation raised questions about their commitment to principles when they decided to participate in the government under those circumstances.

With the charges dropped, he added that Muda's emphasis on principles appears inconsistent with their earlier political alignment.

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“This creates a negative perception towards the party itself, as it appears inconsistent in its rhetoric regarding its own principles.

“This inconsistency is a notable and puzzling aspect of the Muda party's position,” Aziz elaborated.

Political expert Datuk Prof Dr Jayum Anak Jawan from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) also agreed with Aziz’s views, elaborating that there would be no impact at all on the survival of the unity government and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership as Prime Minister.

“Muda has only one seat. At best, it just reflects the young man’s inexperience and his eagerness to get back to his former position as federal minister,” Jayum said.

Despite their support for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) – Barisan Nasional (BN) government, he added that Syed Saddiq and his party had been ignored.

“It is hard to be an ordinary MP after being a federal minister and enjoying all the perks that come with such a position,” he explained.

Another political expert, Associate Prof Dr Syaza Shukri from International Islamic University Malaysia also agreed with Aziz and Jayum, elaborating that Muda’s exit would not have an impact on the stability of the unity government.

In fact, Syaza pointed out that a two-thirds majority was only necessary for specific bills, such as constitutional amendments and certain institutional reforms that the PH government had pursued.

“Even though Syed Saddiq is now considered the ‘third force’, he has expressed his commitment to supporting these reforms, indicating that they will likely proceed smoothly despite his party's exit from the unity government.

“So overall, I would say it’s going to be business as usual,” Syaza added.

Syed Saddiq, who is also the Muar MP, yesterday said the government’s action on discharge not amounting to an acquittal of the 47 corruption charges against Zahid has made it difficult for Muda to remain in the government.

He said this was not the first time Muda made such a decision based on principles.

In fact, he said in 2020, during the Sheraton Move, he was offered a minister post and the chairman of a government-linked company (GLC), but he rejected the offer and although he was threatened, he fought against it as he wanted to build a Malaysia with dignity and integrity.

Yesterday, Muda withdrew its support for the unity government and has chosen to be the third force opposition.

In a video posted on Facebook, its president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the party has informed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul of the matter through a letter.