go to top
A demonstrator raises her fist at a protest after politician Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed prime minister A protest against the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Feb. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

How a New Youth-Driven Party Is Shaking Up Malaysian Politics

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman turned heads in 2018 when, at the age of 25, he became the youngest-ever Malaysian politician appointed to a Cabinet post. Last year, he helped secure the passage of a landmark constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. Now, the telegenic former youth and sports minister is building a new, youth-led political party that follows a recent trend of millennial-inspired political movements in Southeast Asia, including the Indonesian Solidarity Party and Thailand’s now-banned Future Forward Party. Syed Saddiq’s party, the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance—or MUDA, which means “young” in Malay—aims to capitalize on widespread frustration with the country’s winner-take-all politics and galvanize Malaysia’s long-underrepresented youth into a potent political force.

The timing is opportune. Since Mahathir Mohamad suddenly stepped down as prime minister in February in a failed attempt to form a new coalition government, politicians from across the political spectrum have been locked in a fierce and polarizing fight for control. The current Perikatan Nasional coalition, led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, holds a razor-thin majority in Parliament. It is an uneasy alliance of defectors from Mahathir’s old Pakatan Harapan coalition and remnants of the formerly dominant Barisan Nasional alliance, which had been in power for six decades before a huge corruption scandal led voters to resoundingly reject it in the 2018 general election. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.