‘The party needs to reinvent itself to stay relevant or risk fading away’
PETALING JAYA: Muda lacks a clear game plan on its future in the national political landscape and what it can bring to the people, say analysts.
They said it is imperative for the young party to reconstruct its strategic plans to stay relevant or risk gradually disappearing from the national political scene.
Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he wants to see the party formulating national and state policies aside from championing “a truly moderate Malaysia”.
He agreed that changes for the country that were being sought by Muda would take time.
“We are thinking of inter-generational change.
“This can be done by putting in a lot of hard work for the next one or two decades,” Syed Saddiq said when contacted.
However, political analyst Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said such ambitious plans lacked a clear direction.
“What is Muda’s vision and how will it ensure it can get the people’s support?
“Yes, half of Malaysia’s population are made up of young people, but it also means the other half are seniors. Can Muda get the votes of both groups?
“If you say you want to champion integrity and reforms, the other parties have the same goals as well. So, what makes you different from the rest of them? What makes you special?
“People see Muda as an elitist party comprising urban and professional youths instead of a party of the masses like Umno, PKR and PAS,” said Mohd Azizuddin from Universiti Utara Malaysia.
Another problem for Muda is its absence of solid grassroots support, which creates a problem for the party to mobilise a strong machinery to secure seats in an election.
This lack of a strong machinery was one of the factors contributing to the loss of 19 Muda candidates in the recent six state elections.
Mohd Azizuddin suggested that Muda take a look at the strategy of the other parties on how it can have strong grassroots at state, division and branch levels.
“If Muda wants to rely on Syed Saddiq alone, it’s not enough.
“Bersatu is relatively a new party but it has the support of many big names, not just one. When Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim formed PKR, he too had big names around him.
“Crowd pullers are needed because that’s how you get mass support.
“Perhaps Muda needs to study the political culture in Malaysia to survive,” he added.
Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya suggested that Muda join an existing political coalition to enable it to gain a political foothold.
Aside from having the experience and big personalities, he added such coalitions have strong machineries, which Muda lacks.
“Muda should take lessons from youth parties in Indonesia and Thailand. It should study these parties unless it want to disappear from the national political radar.
“As a young party, Muda needs the support of a strong coalition. Otherwise, I see Muda facing the same fate as the now-defunct Semangat 46.
“It seems Muda is slow in searching for its vision and destination, when these are the things that you must figure out from the beginning in politics.
“Due to this lack of vision, Muda is turning into a ‘lalang’ party. It keeps changing its stand,” said Awang Azman.
However, Muda human rights bureau chief Dobby Chew disagreed with the “lalang” label, saying the party has been very clear about its trajectory.
“We have not given up our core faith in multiculturalism, progressive values and fighting for reform. Muda has not shifted its support away from reforms that matter.”
Whether or not Muda is a “lalang” party, Mohd Azizuddin said the party needs to prove if it could bring added value to its future partners.
“Sometimes you have to be a ‘lalang’ to survive and it’s better to be that way rather than being a ‘mosquito party’, meaning you can easily bite someone but you risk being slapped to death,” he added.
He said Syed Saddiq’s victory in the Muar parliamentary seat was due to help from the Pakatan Harapan machinery.
“But what kind of value can Muda bring?
“Muda needs careful planning and effective strategies. It needs to find those who can help build its strength,” Mohd Azizuddin added.
Awang Azman said some of Muda’s and Syed Saddiq’s contributions to the country must be acknowledged as they have brought fresh voices of the youth.
“The success of Undi18 is due to Syed Saddiq’s efforts and it is refreshing to see Muda in the country’s political landscape.
“I hope that it can become a mature party and play an effective role in carrying out check and balance on the ruling government,” he added.