Is MUDA capable of being a force of its own?

MUDA’s Party Launching Ceremony at the Connexion Conference & Events Center, Kerinchi February 11, 2022.
(Picture by Hari Anggara for Malay Mail)

September 5-6: A convention was held among the central and regional leaders of MUDA to discuss matters ahead of the 15th Malaysian General Election (GE15). Several points were brought up: Grassroot leadership, manifestos, assembling team for electoral campaigns and more. However, the biggest highlight is definitely MUDA’s decision to petition to be part of PH for GE15 that brought so much animosity towards the party by its main component, PKR, and of course, many of MUDA’s grassroots members.

Though PKR would have its own reason and its trauma – no thanks to the mistakes committed during the Johor state election – however, MUDA’s grassroots are much louder. They desire the party to hold a similar position to Parti WARISAN; a third-force against the existing coalitions. This is because of MUDA’s political approach that are based on service politics and politics of policy. These two political approaches create an opportunity for ordinary citizens to directly partake in the growth and development of the country.

Truth be told, although many grassroot members and leaders wish for the party to become a third-force (myself included) because of its radical and holistic approaches to the issues plaguing the nation and the society, however, I must agree that MUDA is not ready to be of its own. MUDA needs to join forces with either PH, BN or PN to strengthen its presence. Unlike WARISAN, MUDA has a long road ahead in its political journey. Though MUDA as a party has done tremendous services to the country from its inception until now and did not lose deposits from Johor state election, MUDA has yet to garner enough confidence for the vote of Malaysians.

Syed Saddiq (party president and Member of Parliament for Muar) is the only known leader nationwide while Amira Aisya (vice-president and Johor Legislative Assembly Member for Puteri Wangsa constituency) has yet to garner enough traction in terms of her presence as a leader. To the public, there are no better leaders in MUDA apart from Saddiq. MUDA has not shown to Malaysians that it has leaders (apart from Saddiq) that are capable of leading this country.

The party leadership presence is plagued with Dian Lee’s presence as a central committee member. Dian is known to be the daughter of Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, a property tycoon who is known as a “crony of Tun Mahathir Mohamad”. Though she wished not to be overshadowed by her father’s reputation, however, to most Malaysians, she will be seen as someone who joins MUDA for personal gain. Personally, I don’t see that in her but I question her ability to stand as a politician. What is her personal reason of joining MUDA, what is she fighting for as a person in MUDA and what will she deliver to the people? Though answered, these remain vague to the general public.

The party leadership is also plagued by the presence of Ainie Haziqah, who was once a mentee of Zuraida Kamaruddin (president-designate of Parti Bangsa Malaysia, former PKR and Bersatu assemblywomen). Started off as an activist and philanthropist, Ainie joined politics to raise issues and solve them on much bigger capacity. However, like her mentor, had a history of party-hopping: Once an EXCO of a PKR branch, she joined Bersatu and contested for a seat in the Bersatu women’s committee. Upon losing, she joined MUDA and was immediately appointed to the central committee. Though I value her credibility and experiences as an activist and philanthropist, her intention of joining MUDA remains hidden. Also, will she remain by hook or by crook as a leader of MUDA? We shall see.

What about the remaining members of the central and regional committees? Unfortunately, their efforts have yet to be as renowned. In spite of the likes of Amir Abdul Hadi (activist, Liga Rakyat Demokratik), Siti Rahayu Baharin (activist & teacher, Buku Jalanan Chow Kit), Lim Wei Jiet (lawyer & human rights activist) and Shahrizal Denci (farmer, entrepreneur and activist) to create an impression in heart of every Malaysians, MUDA is still far from being known as a party that could usher Malaysia towards a better future.

With all these setbacks, what can MUDA do if it should be a force of its own? First, MUDA should step back until GE16 (whilst defending Muar seat) and develop its presence throughout Malaysia by putting more efforts to raise issues and advocating participation of every citizens in policy-making and service towards one another. Second, MUDA should begin to identify leaders on regional and constituent level and develop them towards contesting in elections. Third, MUDA should employ guerilla marketing efforts to present its vision and values throughout the nation. In light of these steps, MUDA should remain proactive in meeting the needs of the people and address issues not just on national level but also, on regional and constituent level.

MUDA has a potential to be a force of its own but it takes few more years down the line before it can be a force of its own.

Ez Jalin