KUALA LUMPUR: Following its unexpected strong performance in GE14, Parti Amanah Negara is now focusing on recruiting more young members and grooming them to become future leaders.
Amanah secretary-general Mohd Anuar Tahir said, of late, there was a surge in interest among many people to join the party.
“Most are people who do not belong to any party.
“About 1,000 people have signed up online to join Amanah since the general election. In Temerloh, we have had 500 new members who are Indians,” said the Temerloh MP to The Star.
Amanah was set up three years ago by former PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and several other leaders after they were booted from the Islamist party.
The party was not expected to perform well, but surprised everyone when it won 11 parliamentary seats and 34 state seats.
They were rewarded with five Cabinet positions and four deputy minister’s posts.
Mohamad was appointed Defence Minister, along with deputy president Salahuddin Ayub (Agriculture and Agro-based Industry), vice-president Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof (Prime Minister’s Department), strategy director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Health) and communications director Khalid Samad (Federal Territories).
Amanah leaders given deputy minister posts are its elections director Dr Hatta Ramli (Entrepreneurial Development), central committee members Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (Prime Minister’s Department) and Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Human Resources).
The 66-year-old Anuar was appointed Deputy Works Minister.
In addition, Amanah’s Adly Zahari is Melaka Chief Minister, while the party’s organising secretary Suhaizan Kaiat was appointed as the Johor state assembly Speaker.
The party is well represented in the federal and state governments.
But Anuar agreed that Amanah did not have enough young leaders when compared to other Pakatan parties, such as PKR, DAP and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
“We are a new party, but our leaders are seasoned politicians.
“The general election took a lot of our focus. So, now is the time for us to bring in new blood,” Anuar added.
A social activist who was active in the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Anuar started out his political career in Umno.
He left the party when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy president in 1998 and joined the Reformasi movement.
Anuar is among the founders of Parti Keadilan Nasional, which later became PKR. He served as its first secretary-general.
Anuar said that while Umno and PAS played on the fears of Malay Muslims over their fate if Pakatan Harapan were to take over the Government, the community’s anger over corruption and cost of living proved stronger.
He said Amanah placed Islam as its foundation, but was different from PAS in both constitution and approach.
Unlike PAS, Amanah is open to all religions, with non-Muslim members getting equal rights in the party.
Amanah also has a council of expert advisers, whose members included not just Muslims, but Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.
In the fight for the Malay Muslim vote, Amanah is now seen as a major player, entrusted with the Islamic Affairs Cabinet portfolio held by Mujahid.
Anuar said Amanah would defend Islam to the best of its ability along with its partners in Pakatan.
But it will not do so by pandering to conservative right-wing fears or by portraying Islam as exclusive and interested only in punishment, he stressed.
“We want to inculcate what Islam wants us to fight for, which includes not committing corruption, being trustworthy and truthful,” he said.