Subang MP Wong Chen has defended a social media posting on his account cautioning youths against entering politics too young, denying the message was aimed his own party's youth wing members.
Ironically, the MP said criticism from a PKR Youth leader drove home a point from the very quote he was being criticised for.
This came after Wong was attacked by a fellow PKR member, party Federal Territories Youth chief Na'im Brundage, who challenged the lawmaker to present the party's political bureau with a motion to disband the youth wing.
The criticism followed a posting on Wong’s Instagram account of a photo of himself with the quote: "If you enter politics too young, what you learn is backstabbing, politicking, and you have no idea how the world works. So, go out there and work.”
Wong explained the message, posted yesterday, was aimed at his interns who had often sought advice on engaging in active politics.
He said the quote was purportedly taken from a policy lecture he had given to his current interns two days ago.
“The quote is not meant to target anyone, what more my party's own youth wing! It was directed at my interns, who want to know whether they should actively join politics full time at a young age.
“My position on this has always been… to encourage them to volunteer, take part, but at weekends or events, but never take on a full-time political role at a young age,” Wong said in a Facebook posting today.
He added that full-time politics was expensive and as such, going in without financial security and life experiences would place his “well-meaning and idealistic interns at the risk of corruption and dirty politics”.
Expressing disappointment at Na’im’s criticism, Wong questioned why his party colleague and “friend” could not have simply called and asked for a clarification.
“To suggest that I am somehow anti-youth in politics is absolutely wrong. I have invested a lot of time and efforts in developing my internship programmes in the last six years, to nurture as many critical-minded youths as possible.
“I can't explain his reaction to challenge me to disband the PKR Youth wing, but his action ironically hammers home a side point in my quote,” he said.
In his criticism yesterday, Na’im questioned who will voice the Youth wing agenda if there were no youth representatives in the local political scene.
He cited current leaders such as PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and deputy chief Mohamed Azmin Ali, both of whom had joined politics when they were in their 20s.
Wong further denied personally uploading the quote, but admitted he had given full authority to one of his staff to manage his social media account.
“One of my officers thought it was a good idea to put up the quote on Instagram, so to boost my numbers.
“He didn't ask me, but in all fairness to him, I did give him complete authority to manage my Instagram account. So, the buck stops at me and not him,” Wong added.