Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman's use of the term "political servants", or "macai politik" when referring to several youth groups at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday has not gone down well with several former and current Umno Youth leaders.
Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said it was not befitting for the minister who has been entrusted with looking after the welfare of the country's youth, to use such labels.
"I feel such words should not be used... I know he wants the youth NGOs to be objective and neutral.
"But to me, there is no need to label these youth NGOs as macai just because they have their own political stands," Khairy was reported saying by Bernama.
Umno Youth executive committee member Shahrul Nasrun Kamaruddin said in labelling the groups as such, the minister was insulting both those who had long fought to uplift the Malaysian youth and the youths themselves.
In a statement today, Shahrul said it was clear that the minister did not fully understand the youth movement in Malaysia and its organisations.
"This is because he has no experience in being involved in any youth movements in the country... he was only 'Change Led By The Young Generation' (Challenger) leader - a group formed under the name of young people, not to fight to uplift youths but to oppose the government and former prime minister.
"As a minister given the responsibility to handle the affairs of the youth, Syed Saddiq should be grateful to the youth movements who, all this while, have been taught to respect the rulers and to act rationally in all they do," Shahrul (photo) said.
Challenger was formed in 2016 by Syed Saddiq and 24 other student representatives and youth leaders from various local and international universities to speak out against the Najib Abdul Razak-led administration. The group claimed to be politically non-partisan but stated they had lost faith in the previous government.
Shahrul said it was the minister who was "naive" in that he failed to grasp that youth movements were not forced to side with any political groups. Instead, they were obliged to work alongside the administrators to raise issues and problems faced by youths.
He pointed out that Syed Saddiq himself had been invited to a programme organised by the Malaysian Youth Council (MBM).
He then asked: "So would I be fair to say the MBM is now a 'macai politik' to Pakatan Harapan for inviting Syed Saddiq recently?".
According to report in The Star, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also took the minister to task for his "irresponsible" allegation.
Asyraf was quoted saying: "Youth NGOs have always represented the voice of the youth and while they support the government, at times they also criticise, so we can't label them."
Syed Saddiq was reported to have used the term in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, when referring to several youth NGOs such as the MBM, the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS) and 4B Youth Movement.
He had said that his ministry was out to rid youth organisations which had served a "macai politik" for the previous government.