Of late, the party that once held the highest hope for Malaysia, MUDA, has been slipping further and further into vindictive politics first, and now it is just playing populist politics.
The latest populist outburst of its once respected and dynamic leader, Syed Saddiq, is calling DAP a lapdog of Umno.
The newest one is to hold a rally against the Zahid DNAA together with the PN lot.
So, many are asking, what is his game plan, Syed Saddiq and MUDA?
In 2021, I predicted that Bersatu would slowly fade into irrelevance.
Being the youngest political party that rode on the popular rise of Pakatan Harapan and the charismatic self-styled Tun M, it controlled the new coalition with the smallest representation in votes but largest in cabinet.
When the Sheraton Move was made, I thought with the non-presence of PH and Tun M, that party would fall. I was wrong.
That party had latched on to PAS like a second wife and later hijacked the populist politics of ‘Melayu lawan Cina’ effectively while its president threw in a sprinkling of Christian and Jewish connection and now the ‘haram’ pronouncement.
Bersatu had discovered the joy of identity politics, of extremist politics in religion and the DAP-bashing favorite of Melayu past time.
The question in this article is, will MUDA and Syed Saddiq eventually fall into identity politics of race and religion? Will MUDA don the green vest and wear a kopiah or skull cap and use words like kafir, dhimmi and Cina pendatang?
Syed Saddiq has already learned to use the word ‘lapdog’(anjing ribaan?) on the DAP. DAP-bashing…surprise, surprise.
I once saw Syed Saddiq as a model of new Malaysian politician who would one day helm the top post of prime minister…
When MUDA was formed, I was one of the most excited and happy Malaysians. I saw Syed Saddiq as my pick and model of the new Malaysian and Melayu politician that one day could helm the top post of prime minister.
I was not worried that he had chosen Tun M as his mentor as I saw his own character and determination in many issues of racism and religious extremism.
I saw him defending Malaysia as a multicultural country against the insinuations of his mentor. I saw him defend Steven Sim when some Malay extremists attacked the DAP leader as a Christian evangelist.
Those two things are usually avoided by the Malays who want to be heroes in politics of that race. But not Syed. He was determined to be a Malaysian politician, not a Melayu racist like Tun M, or an Islamic reformist like Anwar Ibrahim.
Syed, to me was the model of our own Onn Jaafar.
But as time passed, I was worried about MUDA when the party, which was touted to be a party for young Malaysians, did not show any teeth in social media and national politics.
The party was dependent solely on the antics of its single handsome and dynamic leader, Syed Saddiq.
When PH helped Syed Saddiq secure his seat and allowed several members of that party to make their election debut, I knew that MUDA was in trouble. But I defended MUDA and Syed Saddiq when many called on that party to be axed.
However, I was shocked when Syed Saddiq announced that his party was going against the PH in the state elections. This decision was no more than the politics of vindictiveness after Anwar refused to meet Syed to discuss partnership in the coalition.
I had written to advise that the party MUDA would lose its shirt and deposit because Malaysians feared the rising tide of religious extremism now becoming the new political narrative of Malaysia.
The party lost as predicted, but their presence split the votes in many places and had caused PN to secure a resounding win.
Even though I had not supported MUDA in GE15, I was ready to forgive and forget while asking MUDA to build a new block of national politics with Umno.
Umno badly needs a new narrative and I thought MUDA would show them the way of Malaysian politics by making the popular move of becoming the third block with Umno-MUDA-GPS-GRS against their partners of PKR-DAP-Amanah.
Now, that would be something, right?
But, Syed Saddiq’s latest outburst of populist politics against the DAP on the DNAA issue shows me that Syed and MUDA have truly nowhere to go.
The party might as well join the extremist coalition of PAS-Bersatu-Gerakan as the new populist-extremist block pandering to the issue of pendatang and kafir harbi (immigrant and enemies of Islam).
MUDA either replaces its leader and finds a new middle path back into centric politics, or rebuilds itself as another Melayu-Islam hardline party.
I hope MUDA members understand whether they are fighting for Malaysia, MUDA, or just propping up the image of its leader, Syed Saddiq.
I hope they do not end up as a free campaign worker to prop up Syed’s uncertain career.
Is there any future for MUDA? Well, except me,…not many now really care!
(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)