‘Don’t play with fire’: Johor Bersatu Youth chief joints chorus of Syed Saddiq’s critics

Ben Tan
Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar (third left) having a word with Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) leaders including Norul Haszarul Abu Samah (second left) during their visit in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri at the Istana Pasir Pelangi in Johor Baru, June 10, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Johor Royal Press Office

JOHOR BARU, July 12 — Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief Norul Haszarul Abu Samah has today warned his own wing’s head Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, accusing him of interfering in the state’s affairs, especially over the definition of the youth age cap.

In his post, Norul Haszarul also advised for Syed Saddiq to focus his attention on his ministry that he leads and to leave any dealings with Johor to those who are knowledgeable about its affairs — claiming “Johor will forever be Johor”.

“To the minister, I advise him not to play with fire by interfering with Johor’s affairs as it is a sovereign state with a prosperous and united people.

“In addition, Johor’s rejection of the proposed age limit for youth (Johor has since opted to cap it at 40 instead of the federal government’s at 30) is not a political sentiment but in line with the the state’s Sustainable Development Blueprint 2019-2030 as per the Johor Menteri Besar’s statement,” Norul Haszarul said on his Facebook page.

However, he did not name the minister, but references were made to the Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq, who ia also Bersatu’s national Youth chief.

“Remember, Johor will forever be Johor,” he said in his hard hitting post that defied the Pakatan Harapan’s norms for supporting the central leadership as well as going against his own leader.

Norul Haszarul is of the opinion that the Johor government had done the right move in maintaining the age limit of youths at 40, stressing that Johor has their own way in determining the direction when it came to such matters and does not need to follow the culture or habits of others.

He said this is a reminder to any ministry to not be in haste in making decisions and at the same time practice an open door policy while listening to the views and suggestions of all stakeholders, especially young people at the grassroots.

“The parties concerned should be aware of syed Saddiq’s mistake. In fact, seven states have so far rejected the new proposal relating to the age limit for the youth,” said Norul Haszarul.

In addition to Johor, he said other states which also maintain their youth cap at 40 are Sarawak, Selangor, Perlis, Pahang, Kelantan and Kedah.

Norul Haszarul’s statement is totally the opposite of an earlier one by Johor’s Pakatan Harapan Youth secretary Azam Mektar, who called for the state government to support Putrajaya’s decision to reduce the age limit to 30 years.

He said the fact remains that amendments to the Youth Societies and Youth Development 2007 (Act 668) is under the jurisdiction of the federal government and has been approved by Dewan Rakyat with the support by MPs without objection.

Johor has been hit with criticisms from both PH and BN after it created confusion sparked by repeated change of position in the past two days regarding the new legal definition of youth.

Johor’s final stand was to revert back to the previous definition of youths to be capped at 40.

On Wednesday night, the Johor government withdrew its earlier decision to cap the youth age at 40.

Earlier, Johor had said it will follow the federal government’s definition of youth as those aged between 15 and 30. Prior to that, just a day earlier, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal issued a statement saying Johor will maintain its definition of youth as those between 15 and 40.

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