8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Malaysia's Bachelor Syed Saddiq
He was once mocked as being the "kitten of Muar."
Twenty-six-year old Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has quickly risen to fame especially after winning Muar's Parliamentary seat in the recent general election
The Bersatu Youth Chief won with a majority of 6,953 votes against Datuk Seri Razali Ibrahim of Barisan National.
1. He learnt many debating tips from YouTube and eventually became known as Asia's Best Speaker
He started debating at the age of 17 and won Asia's Best Speaker award not once or twice, but three times in the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship.
"Debating is not about arguing in a debate room. It's actually about coming up with solutions to make the world a better place," Syed told The Star Online after his third win in 2015.
2. He was barred from speaking at a few universities because organisers said that he might bring "external provocation"
Back in 2016, Syed Saddiq had said that his talk at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) was cancelled and another one at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) was "postponed until the political scene gets better."
On the same week, he was barred from speaking at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and was given "vague reasons."
According to MalaysiaKini, the cancellations came after he became part of the 45 who signed the Citizens' Declaration calling for former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's resignation the week before.
3. He couldn't speak very good English initially and once pronounced "recipe" as "reh-sip"
"I never got As for my English papers and English papers in Malaysia are not difficult. My knowledge was shit. I thought Africa was a country, and Egypt was a continent," he told Malay Mail. He never thought that he could achieve much success.
"When I started debating, I thought the best I could do was to be Malaysia's best speaker, but that was it," he told R.Age in an interview.
But at 23, he found himself competing against universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard, and it motivated him to improve. As a result, he even won best English as Second Language (ESL) Speaker Award.
4. He turned down a scholarship to Oxford University so he could remain in politics
5. He almost ran for Pekan against Najib but Tun M said No
Before running as candidate for Muar, Syed wanted to contest in former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's hometown, Pekan.
He made his request known to Tun M, however, he was told that he would have a higher chance of winning elsewhere.
6. He thinks of himself as a Mama's boy
Syed isn't afraid to admit that he's a bit of a Mama's boy. His mother once said to him that if anything happens to him, she would be the first person who would be in the front line of any resistance.
7. He was once mocked as being the "kitten of Muar" by the opposition
Vice president of UMNO Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein once mocked Syed for being a mere "anak kucing" (kitten) and "setahun jagung" (greenhorn).
To which Syed retorted, "The people in Muar are already sick and thirst for a change. In fact, the situation in Muar does not mirror its status as the most important city in northern Johor.
"So call me a kitten or whatever you want, it still does not deny the fact that Muar people themselves are claiming Muar to be lacking far behind other districts in Johor," according to The Sun Daily.
8. He once had death threats against him
Syed was allegedly offered a RM5 million bribe to ditch Bersatu and to challenge Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to a debate.
The perpetrator sent him photographs that could have been damaging to his family.
However, Syed boldly said, "Believe me, no matter how much bribery offered or how severe the threats were made against me, or my family and friends, I would rather die than lose my dignity," according to New Straits Times.
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