In Malay politics, popularity trumps ideas, says Bersatu Youth chief

In Malay politics, ideas do not matter as it is all about patronage and being popular, says Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.

(FMT) – In his advice to the younger generation who are interested in nation-building, Wan Fayshal said this should not be a norm in the country and this “bad culture” should be abandoned.

“Politics will drag you down to the mud as it is all about power and position. I don’t want this to be a norm in Bersatu and I’m trying to stop this bad culture and change the fabric of political parties,” he said in a webinar organised by Akademi Harimau Asia.

Wan Fayshal added that those interested in politics should first get involved by volunteering in NGOs rather than political parties as it would set a foundation and provide knowledge on “the tapestry of policymaking”.

“When I was in university, I volunteered at the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP). It helped me shape my idealism as a student activist and I’m grateful for that.

“I would spend my days studying documents at CAP and that’s how I got into politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, who also took part in the webinar, suggested it was not impossible to have a political alliance between the government and the opposition.

Taking into account the situation in Perak where DAP and PKR were willing to work together with Umno to form a stable government, Ong said this had set a tone for more mature politics.

“We need a transformation in the way we think. I think most Malaysians and politicians are sick and tired of political manoeuvring and gamesmanship that has been happening over the past three years.

“Therefore, anything that can give the public some level of stability will be good for the country moving forward. However, there needs to be certain conditions and parameters that will need to change for it (political alliance) to happen,” he said.

In terms of the long-term challenges Malaysia might face in the future, Ong said the key was having the right leadership or risk losing out to our neighbours.

“We have people (ministers) who have short-term thinking and are not able to grasp the complexity of policies and execution.

“We need to change that or we will be in a situation where we lose out to our regional competitors,” he said.