LETTER | The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) would be exhaling its last breath should no pragmatic steps be taken following its former president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s corruption conviction.
In September, Syed Saddiq boldly led Muda to quit the federal government after feeling disappointed by the latter’s desecration of election promises. This successfully made Muda the federal third force as the government lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority.
Besides, Muda was also placed on a moral high ground as it upheld the principles of institutional reforms and anti-corruption which the government was too hesitant to push forward due to various political manacles.
Though it is extremely difficult for a party to strike through the fierce political battle in Malaysia without the support of a coalition, Muda still has four years to nurture its image of being a clear stream in the spectrum.
After all, Malaysians are currently quite dissatisfied with all the active coalitions. Muda could really stand a chance if it continues to build its reputation properly.
However, all that fell apart when Syed Saddiq was convicted.
The situation was already not that good for Muda when four Bersatu MPs declared support for the government. Muda was no longer the federal third force as the government secured a two-thirds parliamentary majority once again.
Its only political ammunition left – institutional reforms and anti-corruption – was stripped off following the High Court’s conviction.
No matter whether the sentence was proportionate or excessive, or whether there was political interference, the conviction would surely jeopardise the people’s trust in Muda’s struggle.
Syed Saddiq did react quickly by stepping down from Muda’s presidency on the same day, but this would not exert a strong impact to save Muda’s tainted image.
Firstly, Syed Saddiq is still the Muar MP and the only Muda representative in Parliament. Resigning as president would not clear the people’s mindset that “Syed Saddiq is Muda and Muda is Syed Saddiq”.
With this being said, the people would still attribute Muda as a corrupted party if they believed Syed Saddiq was indeed corrupted.
Furthermore, Muda has not produced leaders other than Syed Saddiq capable of steering the party forward and striking a presence in the people’s hearts. It is just like the association between Reformasi and Anwar Ibrahim.
Nevertheless, things are not all bad for Muda. It still has a chance of surviving if the higher courts overturn the High Court’s ruling on Syed Saddiq.
However, if he fails his case appeal, Muda would need to take swift and pragmatic party reforms to continue striving in the Malaysian political spectrum.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.