Born in 1992, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman is a Malaysian politician and activist. He is famously known for emceeing the signing of the Citizens’ Declaration attended by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and a group of other politicians and NGOs back in 2016. He is currently the Youth Chief of the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (ARMADA) and a member of the Parliament for Muar. He is also the Royal Military College (RMC) alumnus.
1. He declined a scholarship to further his studies at Oxford University, England
In 2017, Saddiq turned down Oxford for politics. And despite losing about RM400,000 worth of scholarship offered by the university and other related bodies, he told the press that his love for his home country (Malaysia) will forever be at his top priority. He shared, “I realised the epicentre of change in Malaysia is not through the military. It’s not through becoming a lawyer (Saddiq is currently reading law). Unfortunately, or fortunately, it is through politics.” He also noted that if he is indeed interested to change the country, he must partake in politics. “It doesn’t mean I have to be a politician. I can just be someone who pushes politicians from the outside or be an activist. The point is, I must partake in that political discourse.”
2. He once pronounced recipe as “reh-sip”
The 3-time champion of Asia’s Best Speaker Award at the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship has come a long way since 2010. Although he could speak English, he mastery of the language wasn’t strong. “I never got A’s for my English papers. And the language papers in Malaysia are not difficult at all,” he narrated, admitting that his general knowledge then was also fairly weak. “I thought Africa was a country; Egypt was a continent. I even remember pronouncing recipe as ‘reh-sip’.”
3. Saddiq opened up about being a racist during his younger days
While he has shown us his tremendous leadership skills and excellent debating qualities since he came into the limelight in 2016, Saddiq was not proud of his past. “I was a racist. I was an Islamic radical because I would actually say if you do not pray, you would go to hell and burn in hell,” he claimed, noting that he will only mingle with Muslims back in his school days. However, he has changed for the better and he believes others can do so too. “People always say ‘oh no, this person is racist or a radical and cannot be changed’. But I disagree. I was once exactly that person and I have changed.”
Di depan lebih 10 ribu orang Muo! Terima kasih! . Thank you for having faith in me, a 25-year old, to take on UMNO’s heavyweight in Muo. . Youth power all the way! Demi anak muda, demi Johor, demi Malaysia! . It’s official, Syed Saddiq Calon Parlimen Muar P.146, calon pertama yang dinamakan oleh BERSATU ?
4. His believes that the youth are the power holder of the country
Saddiq does acknowledge that there is definitely a number of youths who are vocal, but they are just a minority. “I think that’s quite unfortunate when the future of the country is on the line and we are leaving the battles in the hands of those above 50 years old. I think that’s quite disturbing,’ he explained. He understood that most people are scared to put their necks on the line. But in all struggles, there will definitely be sacrifices. Those struggles, albeit can be exasperating, will be rewarded in the long run. He highlighted, “This is not only for you but for the country which you love… What is stopping them is the fear of repercussion, but it can be easily overcome if the masses stand up.”
5. His mother is his source of inspiration
During an interview, he quoted that he is not ashamed to be called a mama’s boy because he does look up to her. “My mum is a teacher and I would attempt to help my mum teach tuition. At the same time, I would get tiger parenting from her. Do this, do this, do this now.” In the end, it was his mother’s love and support that he admires the most. “I distinctively remember my mum telling me that if anything happens to me, she would be the first person in the front line of any resistance. She also said that I do not need the backing of Tun Mahathir nor Anwar Ibrahim. Heck, I do not need the backing of Lim Guan Eng nor Rafizi Ramli. I just need the backing of my mum and I believe that. I’ve seen my mum do some amazing things.”
Tanggal 9 Mei 2018 adalah tarikh bersejarah di Malaysia. Saya percaya pengalaman Pilihan Raya ke 14 ini telah mematangkan saya dan membuatkan saya merasa takzim akan kerdilnya diri ini. Sesungguhnya, ia terbukti bahawa kuasa mengubah dan membawa Malaysia ke arah yang lebih baik adalah di tangan rakyat. . . Jujurnya, keputusan PRU14 di Parlimen Muar ini adalah hasil tenaga dan keringat anggota pasukan Muar, sukarelawan dan sumbangan ikhlas rakyat Malaysia. Anda adalah inspirasi kepada anak muda bernama Syed Saddiq. . . Kepada lawan saya di Muar, saya ucapkan tahniah dan menghulur tangan persahabatan dan kerjasama ke arah membangunkan dan memajukan Muar sebagai Mutiara Johor. Saya percaya impian dan harapan saya menjadikan Muar sebagai enjin ekonomi Utara Johor akan lebih cerah andai kerjasama erat dicapai antara semua. . . Saya tidak pernah dan tidak akan mengamalkan politik dendam. Rakan-rakan UMNO dan PAS tetap mempunyai peranan di dalam rancangan Muar dan Malaysia saya. Janji saya, masa depan anda tidak akan malap hanya kerana saya dipilih mewakili rakyat bagi penggal ini. . . Saya sendiri pernah menjadi mangsa politik dendam dan kepartian hanya kerana perbezaan pandangan di dalam politik. Karier saya sebagai pensyarah di Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia ditutup rapat. Anak murid saya dihalang dari menyertai pertandingan debat di peringkat dunia hanya kerana saya adalah gurunya. Politik dendam ini akan saya hapuskan agar semua tidak menimpa nasib yang serupa dengan saya. Era politik matang akan kita mulakan. . . Kemenangan ini hanyalah satu permulaan. Saya tak masuk dunia politik untuk menang. Saya masuk untuk membela nasib anak muda. Saya masuk untuk kembalikan kuasa kepada rakyat supaya tidak akan ada mana mana pemimpin politik atau parti politik yang akan terlalu berkuasa. Saya masuk untuk memastikan Malaysia will rise once more as the Asian tiger. Together, we can do the impossible my fellow Malaysians. . . Regards, SYED SADDIQ
6. Saddiq nearly gave up his dreams of a brighter future for all Malaysian
Saddiq reasons to democratise the Save Malaysia movement is not because of Tun Mahathir nor for his self-interest. “It’s about all Malaysians from all backgrounds regardless of their ideological beliefs or their religion. The fact is, we all have a common goal, and that is to save Malaysia through our sense of love and nationalism for our country.” However, due to the death threats and moments of self-doubt, he almost gave up. “At one point, I felt that I was fighting a hopeless battle, which might destruct my future career. Yet, I know that I can never forgo my moral conscience. I know I would never be able to look at myself in the future if I stop standing up for what I believe in.”