Syed Saddiq Quits The Unity Government. Here Are 6 Things He Said & Their Significance

"I cannot just remain silent and do nothing when I see one after another red line being crossed," said the MUDA president.

Cover image via @SyedSaddiq (Twitter)

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MUDA president and Muar member of parliament (MP) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has withdrawn his support from the unity government

During an online press conference at 8.30pm last night, 10 September, the 30-year-old politician announced his decision to part ways with the government because of the release of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi from his corruption case.

In the one-hour press conference, the Muar MP revealed the reasons behind his decision.

Here are six things you should know about what Syed Saddiq said:

1. Syed Saddiq explained why MUDA was formed and why he rejects "hyperpersonal" politics

From left to right: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Image via Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail

The MUDA president began by saying that his party was formed to change and fix the broken political systems in Malaysia.

"I want to end the practice of pressuring the opposition, politics that divide the rakyat, a 'winners take all' political system — where there's a disproportion of power concentration — and a political system that normalises corruption.

"MUDA was formed to introduce a new culture to Malaysian politics... where the institution of check and balance is strong and independent that even if the worst politician is elected to become the Prime Minister, the country will still be on the right track," said Syed Saddiq.

He explained that he does not wish to see a political sphere that it is "hyperpersonal", where the faith of the country falls on the shoulder of one person, be it Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, or Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"What I fight against is the political intuition that is often weaponised for the benefit of a political figure or party, which is why whoever is in the government, the same problems keep coming back," said Syed Saddiq.

2. Syed Saddiq said freeing Zahid is the first of many unprincipled actions that the unity government may take in the future

"I supported the government because they promised to push for reformation agendas, fight corruption, and change the institution.

"However, what we got today is a government that promises to fight corruption on one hand, while freeing a corruption case on the other hand. That is wrong!

"During the 15th General Election (GE15), they (the Pakatan Harapan coalition) promised to jail Zahid, just like the promise they made in GE14 to jail Najib.

"I didn't make those promises. Instead, MUDA wants the rule of law to play its course and let the courts decide on the corruption cases.

"Sadly, after the formation of the unity government, they started making unprincipled decisions that normalise corruption. First, they appointed Zahid has Deputy Prime Minister, whom they accused as the number one enemy of the country before the election.

"Then, the public prosecution suddenly applied for a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) on Zahid's corruption case even though a prima facie has been established and Zahid was called to enter his defence," he lamented.

According to him, the problem exists because of a strong concentration of power, which led the Attorney-General (AG), Tan Sri Idrus Harun, to drop the case before the end of his term.

Syed Saddiq said the AG is appointed by and answerable to the Prime Minister, which annuls an AG's independence. Hence, he accused the unity government of interfering with Zahid's corruption case to release him from 47 corruption charges.

He alleged this move may be the first of many unprincipled actions that the unity government will take in the future.

3. Syed Saddiq described the unity government as a hypocrite

The MUDA president said prior to GE15, Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders criticised the lack of separation of power between the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and the public prosecutors, which could lead to political interferences in court cases.

However, once PH was in the government, Syed Saddiq stated that under the AG's instruction, the public prosecutors applied for a DNAA, despite Zahid's case having been in court for the past four years with over 100 witnesses testifying.

He compared the current situation to the height of the 1MDB scandal, where PH heavily criticised Barisan Nasional's (BN) administration for clearing Najib from any wrongdoings, and said releasing Zahid is similar to the 2016 incident.

"I brought up the past to highlight the hypocrisy of the current government!" exclaimed Syed Saddiq, adding, "They do not stick to their words."

4. According to Syed Saddiq, Zahid's DNAA is different from other political leaders who were freed from their corruption charges

From left to right, Zahid, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, Muhyiddin.

Image via New Straits Times

The Muar MP pointed out that Zahid's case differs from those of Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

He said Muhyiddin was freed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the basis that the charges were defective, unsubstantiated, and vague.

As for Bung Moktar, he was also released by the court after Judge Azhar Abdul Hamid allowed his applications for a revision against the Sessions Court's decision for him to enter his defence.

Syed Saddiq said both acquittals were granted by the courts, not applications by the public prosecutors.

5. Syed Saddiq will continue to support the unity government in institutional reforms, as his withdrawal means the government no longer has a two-thirds majority

Syed Saddiq formally withdrew his support for the unity government at parliament today, 11 September.

Image via Malaysiakini

With the recently concluded by-election in Pulai, the unity government regained a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat. 148 parliamentary votes are required for institutional reforms.

However, with MUDA's exit from the unity government, it would leave them with only 147 MPs on their side.

Syed Saddiq said he is aware of the situation, and pledged that he will continue to support any reforms that benefit the rakyat and build a better Malaysia.

"I will support the reforms, but I cannot stay silent and (ignore the unity government's) hypocrisy," said the Muar MP.

6. Syed Saddiq addressed the conundrum of his victory in GE15, which he won while aligning himself with PH

Syed Saddiq won the Muar parliamentary seat while he was aligned with PH.

Image via CNA (YouTube)

When it comes to Syed Saddiq's victory in Muar while contesting alongside PH during GE15, some members of the public have questioned whether his action is considered a betrayal.

In response, he said this is not the first time he was faced with such a dilemma, as he was in a similar situation during the 2020 political manoeuvre, dubbed the 'Sheraton Move'.

"My past critics said, 'You were brought into politics by this party (Bersatu), it was this party president who led you to win the Muar parliamentary seat and give you a ministerial position.'

"Despite that, I made the decision (to leave Bersatu during the 'Sheraton Move') based on principles. There is nothing personal in my decision, but for the greater good of the country.

"If my critics today agreed with my decision in 2020, then they would understand why I have to (withdraw my support from the unity government today). With a heavy heart, I cannot just remain silent and do nothing when I see one after another red line being (crossed)," he said.

Syed Saddiq promised to be an opposition member with integrity to hold the unity government accountable as a "third force".

The full press conference can be found below:

Zahid was granted a DNAA last Monday, 4 July:

After Zahid's release, Khairy Jamaluddin advised the unity government to free Najib as well:

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