To Be Or Not To Be: Muda Or Mutu
11:03 Mar 01, 2022  |  By SabahKini2
To Be Or Not To Be: Muda Or Mutu

Perhaps MUDA is more suitable as MUTU (MUDA + TUA), and possibly adopt our national motto ‘Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu’/ Unity Is Strength.

1. It seems that MUDA and its leaders exhibit the Split Personality Disorder. By medical definition, a split personality refers to a mental disorder where a person has two or more distinct personalities, whereby the thoughts, actions, and behaviours of each personality may be completely different. On the hand, in  simple  Malay language definition: ‘Cakap tidak serupa bikin’.

2. For a start, let’s not beat around the bush and try to fool anyone with a brain. The only reason the acronym MUDA was chosen was to project the image of a party of youth. In fact, from early on, the promoters and leaders of MUDA seem  to  instigate between the young and old with their somewhat critical and cynical posts of ‘boomers’ in social media.

3. Lo and behold, we now know that MUDA’s membership is opened to all ages – young and old. The promoters of MUDA must have realised that MUDA  must ‘capture’ people of all ages for it to be accepted as a mainstream political party. The fact is that MUDA would not be able to win in an election solely on youth votes, including Undi18, which is an interesting story on its own. So, at this stage, one wonders what is the difference between MUDA and other parties like DAP, PKR or Gerakan, whose memberships are opened to all?

Perhaps MUDA is more suitable as MUTU (MUDA + TUA), and possibly adopt our national motto ‘Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu’/ Unity Is Strength.

4. At present, with one glance at the Central Executive Committee of MUDA  on its website, one could conclude that the leadership of MUDA consists, mostly if not  all, of youth leaders below the age of 40. Therefore, one questions whether ‘older’ members could contest and hold leadership positions in MUDA in  the  future?  Or even contest in an election under the banner of MUDA?

If the answer is yes, then the primary premise of the establishment of MUDA is completely shattered. If the answer is no, then it is safe to say  that the promoters  and leaders of MUDA just want the support from members of all ages, without wanting to relinquish their hold on the party to ‘older’ members. It would seem that these group of young leaders prefer to lead than be led, and not ready nor willing to be followers.

5. Based on the existing narrative by the promoters of MUDA, MUDA wishes to offer and inject the idealism and energy of the young into politics and government. However, this is nothing new nor special to shout about. All major political parties have their own youth wings. And the head of the youth wing is recognised and placed at the top of the party hierarchy together with senior leaders. For the longest time, these parties would push forward youth candidates to contest in elections. In addition, many young leaders have been appointed to leadership roles  in  government.

6.Examples are aplenty. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was appointed as the Menteri Besar of Pahang at the age of 29. Tan Sri Isa Samad was appointed as the Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan at the age of 33. Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik as the Chief Minister of Melaka at the age of 32. Tan Sri Shahrir Samad as the Minister of Federal Territories at the age of 34. Datuk Seri Khir Toyo as the Menteri Besar of Selangor at the age 35. Dato Seri Amirudin Shari as the Menteri Besar of Selangor at the age of 38. The list goes on. Even the President of MUDA also benefitted from this practice by being appointed as the Minister of Youth & Sports in 2018.

Unfortunately, some of them have been slapped with criminal charges and found guilty!

Let’s not forget that the President of MUDA has also been slapped with criminal charges in court. But he is a victim of political assassination rite?

7. In the on-going Johor State Election 2022, many young candidates have been nominated to contest by their respective parties, alongside their older colleagues. Most parties have opted to put forward both young and older candidates as this combination offers the best package of energy, idealism, maturity and experience. The two youngest candidates are 26 years old, one each from BN and Pejuang.

8. MUDA fancies itself as the Government-In-Waiting. A big claim from a party with not much experience nor achievement, but drama and mis-steps. In its very first election participation, in the on-going Johor State Election 2022, MUDA quickly and conveniently form an election pact with parties that are led by older leaders or the  old guards.

Again, MUDA lost its plot and opportunity to showcase its so-called new politics,  which remain totally rhetoric like a broken record. It is evident that MUDA would rather work with the old guards to expedite itself to the corridor of power.

Moreover, in a media statement, MUDA stated: ‘Melalui rundingan rasmi bersama DAP dan AMANAH, MUDA telah berjaya mengelakkan sebarang pertindihan kerusi’. This is a very narcissistic statement claiming all the glory. Consider an alternative version: ‘Melalui rundingan rasmi MUDA bersama dengan DAP dan AMANAH, sebarang pertindihan kerusi telah berjaya di elakkan’. A win-win for everyone involved, and glory shared equally.

9. MUDA wants everyone to believe that they are ready to lead and govern. However, in its young age, MUDA has committed many mis-steps and mistakes. Some are so incredible which put a big question mark on MUDA. One great example, in September 2020, the President of MUDA and his leadership team met with Datuk Seri Najib Razak supposedly to discuss the Budget 2021, claiming it was done because of his (President of MUDA) belief in bipartisan politics. Are you kidding us?!? Anyway, one wonders whether did MUDA also meet up with other leaders for the same Budget 2021 discussion?  

Many would argue that we should give MUDA some space to learn and grow, and also to forgive and forget the mis-steps and mistakes. But why?? If MUDA wants to be in mainstream politics, MUDA must be ready to be held and judged with the same standard and scrutiny with everyone else in politics. Why should MUDA be any different with another sets of standards?

The most annoying part is that whenever there is a mis-step made, MUDA enjoys to use and hide behind the cliché statement: ‘Saya masih belajar’. If you have many more things to learn, then go learn and come back later when you are ready. Do not misrepresent yourself as being ready as a leader. Plus, do not inflate your ‘resume’ to show that you have done this and that, and achieve this and that, whereby anyone with a brain would know otherwise.

10. Leadership is about leading by example – ‘Kepimpinan Melalui  Teladan’.  Again, MUDA has failed miserably. In December 2020, MUDA announced that it has appointed lawyers Tan Sri Tommy Thomas and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to  lead  the legal battle for MUDA’s registration. Similarly, for his criminal court case, the President of MUDA has Gobind Singh Deo as his main lawyer. One wonders whether there are any young lawyers in Malaysia with the necessary  expertise  and Again, MUDA lost its plot by not leading by example.

11. Last but not least, worse than being narcissistic, is being hypocritical. Not too long ago, the President of MUDA stated in one of his Tik Tok videos that while he was a cabinet minister, he did not accept and stay at the Government’s house. Instead,   he opted to rent a house in Petaling Jaya. So, a thinking person would question what did he try to convey? Perhaps he wanted to portray an image of a  humble  and modest working-class person, who knows. Mind you, although he did  not  stay in  a big Government house, he is not staying in a flat or a terrace house, but a very nice bungalow in Petaling Jaya!

One wonders when he opted to rent the house, did he receive  any  housing  allowance from the Government, in lieu, of staying in the Government house?

Plus, a working-class person would not be celebrating his birthday with children of tycoons in a fancy restaurant.

In short, cakap tak serupa bikin.

By Pejam Celik