It was big news when Syed Saddiq declined to join Pejuang and wanted to form a new political party consisting of young people.
As much as I wanted to see young people lead a new political party, I don’t think it should be a young people-only party.
It should be a party that wants to practice a new political culture rather than a party of young people. It should be open to every Malaysian.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche is not a political party of young people. Jacinda Adern, a young New Zealand Prime Minister comes from the Labour Party which was formed in 1916. Obviously it has a lot of seniors and older people in the party.
Sanna Marin, the youngest ever Finland’s Prime Minister, at 34 years old comes from the Social Democratic Party, which was formed in 1899.
These country leaders did not forsake the older people, they brought together citizens from all backgrounds. But there is also an important factor that should come from the seniors, which is to be ready to accept young people to lead. They have to accept the changes that are needed to build the nation.
If we want to build a nation, we need the collective efforts of people from all sorts of backgrounds, including people from different age groups.
I don’t think it is about getting young people to go against the older group.
But it is about gathering young voices to work together with experienced senior minds for the betterment of the nation.
We are already somewhat divided into race, religion and income groups. Are we going to divide ourselves even more into age groups?
Forming a new political party nowadays is quite common, but the important thing is the true idea and intention of forming the party. We may see many groups trying to form a political movement or party for the sake of politicking, but not for the ideology of building the nation.
We may see many organizations anywhere facing similar situations. When different groups in an organization are at odds, one of the groups will leave and form an organization of their own.
Looking at the country leaders that I have taken as an example, New Zealand Labour Party and Social Democratic Party solved their problems internally. They accepted young leaders and young minds to lead. It is more about our courage to change, especially internally. We have to ask ourselves whether we are ready to do it.
I laud Syed Saddiq’s courage and vision to form a new political party, but instead of a party for the youth, it should be a party that advocates for new ideas, new political culture.
Everyone will grow old someday. Do we want our future generations to divide us one day, and make us feel left out when we are old?