: A new political party has claimed to be the first in Malaysian history that is setting 'higher standards' for politicians by limiting minimum requirements for only those who have passed Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and are below 50 years of age.
Enter the New Generation Party Malaysia: a party founded by former MIC and PKR leader S. Gobi Krishnan.
It claims to be "championing the cause of young people and was formed solely to empower the younger generation to take the lead in the struggle towards a better Malaysia.”
The party, called NewGen Party in short, has also set its sights on ambitious goals of not just winning a few seats but actually running a state.
“We at NewGen Malaysia are aiming high, to first run a state, maybe Malacca, and then rule the whole country. We are serious about the younger generation building this nation," said 38-year-old Gobi Krishnan.
Claiming to be a multi-racial party taking the lead towards ‘new politics’, it aims to further this agenda by limiting ordinary members to those who have a minimum educational qualification of SPM and above.
Meanwhile, committee members who sit in the Superior Generation Council, the highest rank in the party, must hold a minimum educational qualification of diploma and above. This position is limited to 10 years to ensure that the party is always in the process of self-renewal.
“It is the first time ever in Malaysian political history that we have come up with standards in politics. Everyone is talking about new politics, but nobody is introducing standards. That’s why educational qualification is one of our main criteria,” said Gobi Krishnan, who once headed an NGO called People’s Welfare and Rights Organisation (POWER) and owned a private learning institution.
Gobi Krishnan said the vetting of new members will be assisted by a Members Academic Evaluation Committee headed by political science professor Dr Nizam Tahir.
Aside from educational qualifications, the NewGen Party is also targeting those within the 18-50 age group.
“There is no such party in Malaysia, because look at all our parties, those making decisions are all older people, but if you look at the demographic of voters, there is a big chunk of young voters. As such I feel there is a need for a party specially catered to these young people,” he said.
The party also aims to attract “young professionals and those without any experience in politics.”
“Among our 29 committee members and our 200 members, I am the only one with any experience in politics,” said Gobi Krishnan, who was in MIC between 2003 to 2006 and was a former exco for Selangor MIC Youth. He left PKR as the national strategy and policy bureau secretary on Jan 22, 2013 a day before he submitted the application for this new party to the Registrar of Societies (ROS). It was approved in August last year.
He also said that at the moment, the majority of the members are Malays followed by Chinese and Indians. “Our president is Malay, our deputy is Chinese and the sec-gen, me, an Indian,” he said.
Asked about its political leanings, Gobi Krishnan said: “At the moment, we are rakyat-friendly. We are independent of both coalitions, we will work with both BN and Pakatan Rakyat.” However, he said he does not discount the possibility of joining either coalition in the future though he stressed that the idea is to “move on our own”.
NewGen Party is also planning on forming a shadow cabinet from its 29 committee members, something that Pakatan Rakyat has always been pressured on.
“Since I have experience in both BN and Pakatan, I have come to a conclusion that that there is no such thing as the angel and or devil. In politics everybody is just looking to grab power, and the people comes second. That is something which I would like to change in NewGen Party.
“Previously, anybody can be an MP and ADUN, and subsequently even ministers. We see them making stupid comments but we forget that we are the ones who put them there, we are the ones who voted for him. We have made wrong decisions and now is the time to make the right ones,” he added.