Monday, February 07, 2022

MUDA - a new party with a difference, or same with PH? To 'beg' for seats from the Adult Parties, or stand alone? Malaysian Charter on Human Rights?

As it stands, this Johor State elections may see a 4 or 5 corner fights:-


PN - Bersatu + PAS

PH - PKR + DAP + Amanah 

PEJUANG announced contesting at least 42 seats(going alone)

Warisan - may be fielding candidates > the first Peninsular contest?

Then, we have MUDA, PBM, Parti Kuasa Rakyat, Gerak Independent, PSM, PRM..

Who is the Opposition? PH or PN or BN ...not as clear as before.

MUDA (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance) -really a multi

MUDA has indicated that they want to contest in the upcoming Johor State elections, but till today, they have yet to indicate WHICH SEATS they will be contesting - there are hints of who may be contesting BUT WHERE? MUDA is seeking to form an 'Electoral Pact' with PH, who already have gone through the motion of deciding that PKR will contest 20 seats, and DAP and Amanah will contest ___ seats each. So, is MUDA now begging these PH parties to 'hand over' their allocated seats. Anwar said recently that MUDA is asking for 10 seats. Anwar makes the announcement alone without MUDA? Will PH delay their decision on seats for MUDA until the very end - possibly day/s before nomination date?

PKR and Amanah will each contest in 20 seats while DAP will contest in 16 seats in the upcoming Johor elections. - FMT, 27/1/2022

After the dissolution of the State Assembly, and after the announcement of the date of the State Elections, most other parties are probably already on the campaign trail - and MUDA is what? Patiently waiting like 'little kids' for the 'ADULT parties' to decide which seats they will 'allow' MUDA to contest. Should not have MUDA declared publicly which seats that they are contesting, and then started their 'ground work' - and they do have a lot of groundwork to be done being a newly born party - they need to introduce themselves and also their candidates to the people(the voters)...What happens if PH 'plays them out', and just agree to give them NO SEATS or just a 2? Personally, I would have just announced soon after Johor State Assembly had been dissolved - how many seats and WHICH seats will MUDA contest - thereafter in a few days, maybe even announce who the candidate/s under consideration for which seats.

Determination of the CANDIDATE who will be contesting, the best approach is to get the views of the people in the constituency. Maybe, interested candidates should go out there and get signatures of those that agree to their contesting in that particular seat, and/or will support. How many? Maybe 500, 1000 or even 2000 - depending on the size of the constituency - 10% of voters may be good. 'with signatures of at least 50 voters whose name appear on the voters’ roll of any of the voting districts' or even demonstration of local constituency support of party members > Malaysia's culture of national leadership deciding on the candidate should be changed to a more democratic people(or in the meantime party members) deciding on who should contest in a particular constituency. But, maybe MUDA believes in the old approach of leadership deciding alone????

MUDA's credibility is at stake - will they be 'beggars' picking up the scraps or 'seats' the 'adult parties' give them? Then, most likely, save for one or 2, the other seats maybe those with little chance of victory? Will it even be seats where MUDA has a presence already, or where MUDA has a significant ground support? 

MUDA (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) - the problem that persists is that we still do not know WHY we must even support or consider MUDA in up-coming elections. Does MUDA even support the Malaysian Charter of Human Rights, an outcome of a process involving Malaysian civil society groups, trade unions and even political parties that started from scratch and worked out word for word - this Human Rights Charter. 

Unlike GE14, things are very different as we had all experienced governments, other than BN, being the PH Plus, PN Plus(including PAS), ...and one things that is common is that many Malaysians are disappointed by ALL > when in power, they simply followed the old-ways of the UMNO-led BN. Political appointments continued in GLCs, Government Statutory Bodies, etc...political appoitees continued in Local Goverment(depriving the rakyat of democratically elected leaders in Local Government), and even community leaders from Ketua Kampung and Ketua Kampung JKKKKs, etc. DEMOCRACY and our democratic rights literally 'never moved' from the times of BN rule... Draconian laws remained - and MUDA themselves suffered the anti-freedom association provisions in the Societies Act, etc.

MUDA suffers the presence of Syed Saddiq, who was part of PH Plus - where he stayed silent when PH Plus failed to fulfill electoral promises. Syed Saddiq's then joining of a political party, not open to ALL Malaysians but only Bumiputras also was possibly negative. The charges he is defending in court also may effect matters

MUDA has been trying to fight the image that it is NOT merely a party of a former BERSATU MP. It is indeed a new party, with NEW people with very few with a past of belonging to other parties.There are several NEW Political Parties that one needs to also watch. Parti Kuasa Rakyat has a former University Malaya Student Union leader, which saw students taking to the streets in defence of people suffering from poverty, land issues, etc, as its President -Kamarazaman Yaakob....

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) and Parti Kuasa Rakyat have successfully registered with the Registrar of Societies last year, while the Sarawak Workers’ Party rebranded itself as a national multiracial party known as Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).

Then there is also a group called the Gerak Independent, which is backing personalities to stand in the next general election as independent candidates.

WILL MUDA at the very least endorse the Malaysian Human Rights Charter, and make known its stance on some of the new issues - political appointees, Local Government Elections, Flood Prevention(Mitigation), IPCMC, Sedition Act, draconian powers of ROS and Societies Act, Gender Discrimination, Protection of the Tiger and endangered species, .....

Malaysian Charter on Human Rights

By Malaysian Non-Governmental Organisations (1993, The Charter was printed and published in December 1994. There was also a Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese version printed)


1. Acknowledging the impact of changing geopolitical realities in the present global order on a multi-cultural country like Malaysia and recognising the diversity of situations, experiences and perceptions in our context, we believe that there is a common basis for the protection of human rights.

2. Human rights are the foundation of the holistic well-being of all humans in all spiritual, moral, mental, physical and social aspects. With these rights come the responsibility to protect and respect the well-being of other individuals and communities in society, as well as to ensure a harmonious relationship between humankind and the natural environment.

3. In a developing country like Malaysia, recognition and respect of the right to political, social, cultural and economic self-determination of all peoples are fundamental to the protection of our dignity and equality; and to justice, peace and freedom in our country.

4. The promotion of human rights is indivisible to the pursuit of a holistic and just development. We believe that all forms of expression and choices about the processes of economic development in this country must be respected.

5. We note that the Malaysian government has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition, other United Nations Conventions such as the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, have not been ratified as well. We strongly believe that the ratification, and effective implementation, of these standards is vital to the promotion of human rights in Malaysia, and urge the Government to do so immediately.

Article 1 - Universality

1. Human rights are universal. Universal human rights standards are rooted in our many and rich cultures. Human rights are universal in value and are of universal concern.

2. Human rights afford protection to all of humanity, including special groups such as children, minorities and indigenous peoples, workers, refugees and displaced persons, people with disabilities and the elderly.

3. Whilst we recognise and advocate cultural pluralism, those cultural practices which derogate from universally accepted human rights must not be tolerated.

Article 2 - Indivisibility

1. Human rights, be they economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, are indivisible and interdependent. The protection of economic, social and cultural rights requires full respect by governments for the exercise by peoples of their civil and political rights.

2. Poverty denies people much of their basic economic and social rights. However, the poor must never be denied their right to speak, to organize, and to exercise their right to participate in decision-making in the development process on the grounds that they must first be fed, housed and educated.

3. We affirm that one set of rights can never be used to bargain for another set of rights.

Article 3 - Women's Rights as Human Rights

1. Women's rights are human rights. Women's rights must be addressed in both the public and private spheres of society, in particular the family.

2. The patriarchal system is manifest in all institutions, attitudes, social norms and values in our society. It takes many forms and cuts across class, culture, caste and ethnicity. It must be eradicated.

3. All forms of discrimination against women are to be eliminated.

4. Violence against women is one of the main instruments by which patriarchy perpetuates itself, and thereby the subjugation, oppression and exploitation of women.Violence against women is a violation of women's basic human rights and must be eradicated if there is to be social justice and equity.Violations of women's human rights are not simply individual acts of violence.

Within all areas of human rights - whether civil, political, economic or social - human rights violations against women take specific forms. Entrenched structures and practices such as caste, customary law, the family, and religion continue to discriminate against women. 
Economic and social institutions which are exploitative oppress women, and legal institutions which claim to dispense equal justice are in fact gender biased. 

5. To provide women a life with dignity and self-determination, women must be guaranteed inalienable equal economic, social, political and religious rights. 

Article 4 - Development 
1. The right to holistic development is a basic human right. In order to attain socially equitable and environmentally sustainable development, there must be respect for civil and political rights as well as social, cultural and economic self-determination of all people. 

People's participation in the development process is essential to ensure that development is socially just and culturally appropriate. 

2. Human development is dependent on resources provided by our natural environment.

The protection and the sustainable use of these resources is integral to the well-being and survival of all peoples, in particular those communities that live in close harmony with their environment, and for future generations.

3. Our models of economic development need to be recast in recognition of the fragility of the present ecological crisis and the growing inequities of the present economic systems.

Alternative development frameworks need to be constructed using culturally and socially appropriate models, drawing from, in particular, the experiences of the indigenous communities of our country.

Article 5 - Democracy

1. True democracy cannot be separated from holistic development. Each is essential for the attainment of the other.

2. Democracy is more than the ritual casting of a ballot once every few' years. True democracy involves ongoing participation by the people at all levels so that the people can determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, cultural and spiritual development.

3. Participatory democracy must permeate all levels of human living the home, the workplace, the local community and the nation.

Article 6 - Development and the world order

1. The present world order allows the arbitrary control and domination of development by the powerful in the North, abetted by elites in the South. This gross injustice perpetrates vast social and economic disparities both globally and nationally and denies individuals and communities the right to social, cultural and economic self-determination.

2. The development process at the international level must also be guided by the same principles of participatory democracy, equity and justice.

3. The United Nations must be democratised through the abolition of the veto and permanent membership of the Security Council, and an enhancement of the powers of the General Assembly.

4. The external debt of the chronically poor nations of the South aggravates poverty and thus violates the human rights of their peoples. These debts should be written off. Other debtor nations of the South should be allowed to reschedule their debts and not be further burdened by structural adjustment policies.
5. The present policies of the Group of Seven and North-dominated institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade inflict gross human rights violations on the poor of the South. This must be stopped.

6. Every person and community has the right to have direct access to international institutions to seek redress.

Article 7 - Environment

1. Everyone is entitled to live in a clean, healthy, safe, and sustainable environment free from agricultural and industrial pollution.

2. All peoples and nations have a right to participate in decisions regarding local, regional, and global environmental issues such as nuclear arsenals, storage, transportation, and dumping of toxic wastes, pollution, and location of hazardous industries.

Article 8 - Equality and Non-Discrimination

1. All persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

2. There shall be no discrimination in the rights and privileges of persons based on their ethnic origin, class, social status, age, sex, mental and physical being, language, religious belief, sexual identity or political conviction.

3. There shall be a more just distribution of wealth, power and opportunities without distinctions based on ethnic origin, age, sex, mental and physical being, language, religious belief, sexual identity or political conviction., The government and private sector should formulate and implement policies to achieve this end.

Article 9 - Equal access to basic needs

1. All persons. are entitled, irrespective of ethnic origin, age, sex, mental and physical being, language, religious belief, sexual identity or political conviction to sufficient food, clothing, shelter, education, energy, water, medical care, social services, information, public amenities and a clean and safe environment to maintain a standard of living adequate for the dignity, health and well-being of the person, the family and the community.

2. Everyone has the right to live and die with dignity and to social protection against unemployment, sickness, disability, old age, death or abandonment in circumstances beyond the person's control.

Article 10 - Employment

1. Everyone has the right to full employment with fair working conditions, a safe working environment and with a humane and democratic management.

2. All workers must receive equal pay for the same job done irrespective of gender and ethnicity.

3. All workers must receive a fair and just wage that allows the person and family to maintain an adequate standard of living.

4. All workers are entitled to job security, the right to organize and join a union of the person's choice, and exercise the right to take all forms of industrial action in a peaceful manner.

Article 11 - Education, language and culture

1. Everyone has the right to free primary and secondary education which shall be compulsory. The state shall provide the social, economic and legal mechanisms to ensure the above right. Higher education which includes technical and vocational education should be made available within the resources of the country to all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background.

2. All persons have the right to choose and practise their own religion, beliefs and traditions.

3. All persons have the right to use and learn their own languages and maintain their cultural traditions and identity.

4. National minorities have the right to carry on their own educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and higher educational institutions and the use and teaching of their own language; provided that this right is not exercised in a manner which prevents the members of these minorities from understanding the culture and language of the community as a whole and from participating in its activities in order to attain national unity and integration.
Article 12 - Rights to personal security

1. Everyone has the right to live in peace and be free from fear of arbitrary arrest and detention without fair and public trial.

2. No person shall be tortured or subjected to cruel or degrading treatment or punishment by individuals, police, military or any other state agency.

3. Everyone has the right to legal counsel forthwith upon arrest, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, to be equally protected by the law and to be given a fair and public trial.

4. Everyone has the right to freedom from persecution and to obtain asylum in other countries.

5. Everyone shall have the right to move freely in and out of the country. 

Article 13 - Freedom of association and assembly

1. Everyone is entitled to organize or participate in meetings, forums, gatherings, discussions, and other peaceful activities without having to obtain the prior permission of any state body.

2. Everyone has the right to join or form any Organisation including political organisations of their choice and conduct peaceful activities.

Article 14 - Freedom of expression and access to Information

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinions and responsible exercise of the freedom of expression without interference and persecution.

2. Everyone is entitled to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through an independent and responsible mass media free of political censorship and monopoly.

3. The media of mass communications shall not be subject to licensing at the discretion of government.

4. Mass communication media owned by the state must be governed and run by an autonomous impartial board made up representatives appointed by the state, the nongovernmental sector and opposition political parties.

Article 15 - Children

1. Every child is entitled to

a) adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care for healthy physical growth.

b) a stable environment to encourage healthy mental and emotional growth.

c) proper supervision and education in basic moral values and social ethics.

d) live in a clean, healthy, and peaceful environment.

2. Children should not be deprived of a childhood which has adequate education, recreation, and social interaction with other children.

3. Children shall not be forced into child labour, prostitution and other forms of abuses.

4. All governments shall ratify and implement the rights of children to survival, protection and development and participation as embodied in the Convention on the Rights of Children.

Article 16 - Indigenous peoples

1. Indigenous peoples are entitled to self-determination. By this is meant their natural and inalienable rights to retain and control the land and all resources found on their traditional territories, and the right to choose their own way of life.

2. They have the right to practise and develop their culture and indigenous religion and to maintain their cultural identity. They shall also be provided with ample opportunity for material progress.

Article 17 - People with disabilities

1 . People with disabilities shall be recognized as members of society and have the right to adequate care in their daily lives.

2. They shall have the right to equal opportunity in education and employment and to be given adequate access to all basic public and social amenities.

3. They shall have the right to participate in the planning of the services for people with disabilities. 

Article 18 - Refugees and Foreign Workers

1. All refugees should have access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, other possible form of assistance and to recognition as refugees. They should not be forcibly returned to their home country especially at the risk of persecution.

2. Foreign workers should have access to all basic amenities, fair working conditions, a just and equal wage, a safe working environment, and also a channel to redress discrimination and exploitation. 

Article 19 - Human Rights Education and Training

1. Human rights education and training empower people to prevent human rights violations and nurture respect for the human rights of others.

2. Human rights education and training are central to the promotion and protection of human rights.

3. Comprehensive human rights education and training programmes both in and out of school shall be developed by the government and non-government sector.

Article 20 - National emergencies, derogations and judicial independence

1. No government shall declare a state of emergency except when a real danger exists to the very existence and life of the nation; and all declarations of state of emergency shall be abrogated immediately when the need for their perpetration no longer exists.

2. Even under a validly declared emergency, governments shall not deny nor violate the following rights and freedoms: right to life, right to recognition of personal dignity and legal personality, freedom of conscience and of religion, freedom from torture, retroactive penal measures, and cruel punishment, the right to leave from and return to one's own country, the right to habeas corpus, the right of access to civil courts and to fair, public and speedy trial.

3. The protection of human rights requires an independent and socially responsible judiciary.

4. We call for the establishment of international, regional, and national mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights with guarantees of independence, impartiality and accessibility.


The repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other laws providing for detention without trial, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the amending of all our national laws to bring them in line with the human rights standards stated in this declaration.

The government to ratify immediately the International Covenant on Civiland Political Rights ; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; Convention Against Torture and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- - - - - - o - - - - -
Malaysian NGOs that have endorsed the Malaysian charter on Human Rights are as follows:

  1. Alaigal
  2. Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN)
  3. All Malaysian Estate Staff Union (AMESU)
  4. All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
  5. Amnesty Malaysia
  6. Centre for Community Studies (Pusat Kaiian Masyarakat)
  7. Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (CUEPACS)
  8. Consumer Associadon of Sabah (CASH)
  9. Center for Orang Asli Concems (COAC)
  10. Consumer Association of Taiping (CAT)
  11. Democratic Action Party (DAP) Malaysia
  12. Dignity and Services
  13. Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM)
  14. ERA Consumer
  15. Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association (FOMCA)
  16. Federation of Textile-Garment Workers Union
  17. Harris Solid-State (M) Sdn. Bhd. Workers Union
  18. Institute for Community Education, Sarawak (IPK)
  19. Electrical Industries Workers Union (EIWU)
  20. Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
  21. Metal Industry Employees Union (MIEU)
  22. Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia
  23. National Civil Rights Committee
  24. National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Persatuan HAKAM)
  25. National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE)
  26. National Union of Employees in Companies Manufacturing Rubber Products (NUECMRP)
  27. National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM)
  28. Pahang Association of Consumers (PAC)
  29. Parti Melayu Semangat 46 Malaysia
  30. Parti Rakyat Malaysia [Selangor/Kuala Lumpur Division] (PRM)
  31. Partners of Community Organisations, Sabah (PACOS)
  32. Penang Organic Farm Club
  33. People Service Organisation (PSO)
  34. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor [Friends of Women] (PSW)
  35. Sabah NGOs Development Network (SNC)
  36. Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO)
  37. Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (Youth Section)
  38. Selangor Graduates Society (SGS)
  39. Sisters of Islam
  40. Society for Christian Reflections (SCR)
  41. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  42. Tholilaliyin Tholar (Sahabat Pekerja/Friends of Workers)
  43. Tenaganita
  44. Transport Workers Union (TWU)
  45. United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia
  46. United Chinese School Teachers' Association of Malaysia
  47. Women's Development Collective (WDC)
  48. Workers Organisation Malaysia (WOM)
  49. Young Women's Christian Association
  50. Persatuan Pengguna Pahang/Consumer Association of Pahang-

    Malaysian Charter on Human Rights - When Malaysians Decided Themselves...

REMEMBER this is but a State Elections, and knowing Malaysians who generally would want to 'balance things out' - not wanting the same parties to be in power at every level. This means that who wins in the State Election may not win in the Federal Elections. Likewise, if there were LOCAL GOVERNMENT elections, some other may win.

The UMNO-BN in power for a long time realized this and thus held National and State Elections at the same time ...If the State Elections comes after UMNO-BN won the Federal Elections, then the likelihood of the Opposition winning at the State Elections is very high...PH also preferred same time elections - to prevent winning Federal but losing State, or winning State but losing Federal... I have been advocating for different times for State and Federal Elections, and people would avoid giving the same party/coalition domination of both Federal and State. This peoples' attitude would push all parties, when in power, to do the BEST for the people - fearing the people will exercise their right of choice if the fail...

An alternate coalition to BN, PN or PH - may be a coalition with maybe PEJUANG(or not), Warisan, PSM, PRM, Parti Kuasa Rakyat,...and maybe the other 'small parties' may be a better choice for MUDA? 


Report: Anwar says Muda wants 10 seats to contest in Johor

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during launch of the ‘Jelajah Peduli Rakyat’ national tour in Petaling Jaya September 17, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during launch of the ‘Jelajah Peduli Rakyat’ national tour in Petaling Jaya September 17, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has reportedly claimed that the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) has asked for 10 seats to contest in the upcoming Johor elections.

Local news organisation Free Malaysia Today (FMT) today also quoted the Opposition Leader as saying that Muda has been told to provide a list of candidates for the seats it wishes to contest in order to further discussions.

Previously, on January 29, Muda president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman confirmed that his newly formed party would compete in the state election, which would be the first election of any kind for Muda.

A few days before, on January 24, Anwar announced that he plans to unite all Opposition parties — including Warisan, Muda and Pejuang — to ensure that Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno would be defeated at the state polls.

However, it is currently unclear what form this proposed alliance will take.

Johor is the fourth state election to be held in the past two years, with the former victors of the 14th general election losing the previous three to either BN or its allies.

The Johor state election was triggered two weeks ago after caretaker Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad from Umno sought the dissolution of the state assembly despite still holding a one-seat majority.

The Election Commission is scheduled to meet this Wednesday to decide the nomination and polling dates for Johor. - Malay Mail, 6/2/2022

Meet the faces behind Muda

INTERVIEW | Four months after Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was expelled from Bersatu for his loyalty to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he declined to join Pejuang and announced a youth-led party instead.

Gathering a line-up of young professionals, activists, start-up founders, religious preachers and academics, he formed a multiracial, policy-driven platform that would eventually be called the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda).

Contrary to popular belief and despite his high profile, Muda’s inception was not a one-man effort.

According to the party's secretary-general Amira Aisya Abd Aziz, she sent a message to Syed Saddiq a day after the Sheraton Move happened, asking him to start his own party.

The text message read: “Form a new party of young, smart people. I’ll be with you. May Allah bless.”

This led to a discussion among young people from diverse backgrounds, leading to a consensus that it was the right time for a youth-led political party in Malaysia.

So inspired was Amira that she quit her job at the Education Ministry to dedicate her life to her passion for justice.

The 26-year-old didn’t live an easy life growing up. She was raised by a single mother in a squatter area with her four siblings and grandmother.

“Growing up in the squatters area, I watched how the country’s unfair system across all sectors causes socio-economic injustice.

"I have watched, one by one, my childhood friends tumble down the path of drugs, some dropped out of school at a very, very young age, and many did not make it out of the circle of poverty.

“I always knew that I wanted to be involved in the policymaking process of the nation and to be able to change the system that is very biased towards the elites. I understand that everyone plays a different role to create change but actual, impactful change can only be made in the Parliament.

Muda secretary-general Amira Aisya Abd Aziz

“I am doing this for Malaysians who have been victims of the system that favour the elites and have little sympathy and empathy for the poor.

“I am doing this to create a Malaysia where nobody will ever feel oppressed by their own country - regardless of race, religion, and background,” Amira said during an interview with Malaysiakini.

The Sheraton Move was the perfect trigger to introduce a youth-led political party in Malaysia, according to Muda vice-president Dr Thanussha Francis Xavier.

The 31-year-old medical doctor, who hails from Taiping, Perak, felt disheartened that the people’s mandate was betrayed and that the former government was toppled due to the actions of selfish individuals.

Although Syed Saddiq spearheads Muda, it was the collective effort by 11 other passionate individuals -- apart from Amira and Thanussha -- that led Muda to what it is today.

The others are Afiqah Zulkifli, Amir Hariri Abd Hadi, Dr Mathen Nair, Teo Lee Ken, Lim Wei Jiet, Luqman Long, Mutalib Uthman, Mohd Fakhruradzi Tajuddin, Shahrizal Denci, Siti Rahayu Baharin and Tarmizi Anuwar.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Thanussha, Lim, Amira, Amir and Shahrizal spoke about their journey into politics and together as a newly formed political party:

Tell us more about yourself and how you got into Muda:

Shahrizal: My name is Shahrizal Denci. I am 40 years old, was born and raised in Ranau, Sabah. I graduated from University Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) with a Bachelor of Computer Engineering.

After university, I worked for three years in a German semiconductor company based in Kulim Hi-Tech, Kedah. I then came back to my hometown in 2014 to start a small farm business.

Fast forward to today, we are a wholesale vegetable supplier for most of the hypermarkets in Sabah.

Muda co-founder Shahrizal Denci

Amir: I grew up in Balakong, Selangor. I am currently pursuing a Master of Science in Politics of Asia at SOAS University in London. Prior to this, I was in UiTM pursuing business management.

I began (my journey into politics) as a student activist. I was then appointed as a coordinator in the Anti-Sedition Act Movement before joining Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Alongside other student activists, we proceeded to form the Liga Rakyat Demokratik in 2015, where I was the secretary-general. I never thought of joining politics until after the Sheraton Move.

Lim: I was born in Muar, Johor — coincidentally, Syed Saddiq’s (hometown) — and will be turning 31 years old this year. I studied law at Universiti Malaya and I've been practising as a lawyer for the past five, six years.

Although I was a very keen follower of political developments, I never imagined I would be involved personally in politics.

I did not have family members who were directly involved in a political party and did not come from a very affluent, rich background. So, it was only after the Sheraton Move in 2020 where it was kind of a very low point in my life.

I felt that there was a real need to do something to stand up because if young people whose future is most at stake don’t stand up, we are going to be doomed.

I knew Syed Saddiq before that because he was a university debater and I was also a university debater. The idea of a new political party was discussed, agreed to and it was adopted. Therefore, I somehow became involved in it.

What is your party position, and which area do you work in specifically?

Thanussha: As one of the vice-presidents, my duty is to develop Muda as a national party.

Muda vice-president Dr Thanussha Francis Xavier

Shahrizal: As one of the co-founders, I serve as a vice-president in the central executive committee, and am the chairperson of Muda Sabah.

For the past year, I have worked in multiple areas in Sabah to educate the locals on what Muda is about.

Amira: I was entrusted with the role of secretary-general after Amir — who was holding the post — left to study in the United Kingdom. As the secretary-general, it is my duty to oversee the smooth operations of the entire party.

Especially as a new party, with almost the majority of its members being newcomers to politics, it is extremely important for the secretary-general to go down to the ground and work together with state leadership.

Having said that, my home is in parliamentary area Tebrau. I do want to contribute as much as possible to my hometown and have done several activities in Tebrau.

But to me, it is most important to look at the best way to serve Malaysians regardless of which area they come from.

Amir: I resigned from my former position as secretary-general to continue my studies in London. However, we are in the early phases of setting up the Muda United Kingdom.

Even before Muda was legalised there was an extraordinary struggle to get the party registered. What was that like?

Amira: I supposed I’ve always known that registering a party will not be easy but I never thought that it would be as hard as it was.

We had to mobilise our party without resources and simply by the will of our members to fork out their own money and sacrifice their time to keep the party going.

But the silver lining in all this is we knew that the government was scared of what we were bringing to the table.

We have been treated like criminals. We were questioned by the police so many times, just for practising our right to speak against oppression.

I had to go back and forth between the Registrar of Societies and the court just to fight for our democratic right to actively participate in politics.

They (the government) thought they could weaken us but they were wrong. Everything they have done has only strengthened our will to fight until we are able to make significant and positive changes to Malaysia’s political landscape.

Lim: If you're a lawyer, you would know that it is quite a straightforward process to register a party. But when the authorities, whether intentionally or unintentionally, put up so many roadblocks for you, it is very frustrating.

It's very frustrating because we spent so much time and resources on achieving something so simple as registering a party — when we could have dedicated all that energy towards messaging or crafting better policies or helping the public on the ground, and so on and so forth.

Muda vice president Lim Wei Jiet

Amir: Not only were we unregistered, we formed a party from scratch — not just in supporters but with leaders who are new to politics. There was no money, no office, and many who were involved in the political field were sceptical.

We also formed Muda during a pandemic and were unable to meet state and Parliament leaders to form the party from the grassroots. A lot of our work was done through online platforms such as Zoom.

Thanussha: It was also extremely difficult to plan for the future in terms of political alignment and seat negotiations as we did not have our own flag. The purpose behind the delay is clear - to hinder our growth.

However, we had faith in the judicial system, and in our supporters — and we persisted.

What is the party structure like?

Lim: Under our party constitution, we have a president - who is Syed Saddiq. We have five vice-presidents. I'm one of those particular vice-presidents. We have a secretary-general, a treasurer and central committee members.

So our structure is formally and structurally not very much different from other parties out there - except that I do think that we are a little bit more decentralised, compared to the other parties.

We have a state lineup (and) Parliament lineup who are very, very motivated, proactive in their own progress and cultivating their own strategies.

Some, you know, have come up with newsletters on their own, others initiated flood relief works from their own branches.

So there is definitely an advantage to being centralised but I think that is also one of the characteristics of being savvy and young in that we were quite flat functionally, in the sense that we give a lot of empowerment and trust to community leaders.

The top leadership doesn't call all the shots. We empower people on the ground to make their own choices, and that has proven to be a very good strategy. I think that our effect on the ground and our ability to reach people is a testament to that trust that we put in young people.

I think this kind of flat structure works well when a party has just started. No doubt, I admit that. The people are energetic and love ideas and everything.

But I do think as the party grows, obviously, there needs to be some kind of disciplinary mechanism, for example, or some kind of structure to ensure execution is done well.

But that doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice empowering state leaders, Parliament-level leaders to make their own decisions and to have some kind of flexibility in how they approach things.

So, we are not going to change that, hopefully. But as the party grows, there will definitely be a challenge in managing human resources, like any kind of organisation.

Amira: The only person in our leadership that has experience serving as an elected representative is Syed Saddiq. Not even three other people have ever been involved in active politics.

We are made up of leaders from diverse backgrounds who have never had experience in politics before but are now jumping into it because we believe in Muda and the idealogy that Muda puts forward.

Do you personally think you may contest in the forthcoming 15th general election (GE15)?

Amir: It depends on the decision of the party leaders. If asked, I will do it. If not, I will help from any aspect that is needed.

Former Muda secretary-general Amir Hariri Abd Hadi

Thanussha: Co-founding Muda was never about power-grabbing. We all firmly believe in a better vision for Malaysia and thus persisted for more than a year and fought for our registration. If given the opportunity, yes I will contest.

Shahrizal: Personally, I really want to see fresh faces and young blood in Parliament. Whether I might run in GE15 is not up to me — it is a question for the central executive committee to answer.

What are your hopes for the future - with regard to both the country and Muda?

Amira: I hope that the country will be free from the corruption that has so long trapped our country.

I hope for a country with quality and accessible education for all as education is the pillar of the nation. I hope for a country with a booming economy and socio-economic justice.

I hope for a country where no children will ever feel that they don’t belong in their own country. Where nobody will ever feel like they are second-class citizens.

I hope for a day that a non-Malay child or a girl can say that they dream to be prime minister of Malaysia and will not be laughed at.

I hope that Parti Muda will always be the party that will fight for these ideals. They say idealism cripples - but I disagree. We are formed through idealism and I hope we never lose it.

Amir: For us to truly build a nation for all - that is fair and equal, that honours human rights, that does not only make the rich richer but looks after the welfare of all.

As for Muda, for it to stay on the path of the struggle, and not fall into the trap of old politics.

Lim: I really hope that, at the end of the day, Muda will form a sizeable number in Parliament, possibly being part of the government, so that progressive policies can be implemented.

I want a very progressive, youth-centric, tech-oriented approach - an approach that realises the urgency that we're in.

Countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are overtaking us already as we speak. There's no sense of urgency to even try to return Malaysia to its former glory or to move forward.

We are in the limbo of being stuck in the past with a prime minister who doesn't seem to be interested in his job. Malaysians deserve more than this.

Malaysians deserve the change now - not five to 10 years down the road. I really do hope that, by then, Muda will already be part of the government, steamrolling and spearheading all these changes that are so badly needed across all facets of Malaysian governance.

This is the first part of our three-part series on leaders of Muda. - Malaysiakini, 19/1/2022


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