Syed Saddiq is, indeed, a role model. How many young people will give up an Oxford education to maintain his commitment to his political party and country? How many more will turn down RM5 million to leave the party they belong to and smear their leaders?
The reason the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) Youth chief gave for giving up an Oxford scholarship was “for the sake of county”. Amazing! Saddiq probably realised that now was not a good time to leave politics as the opposition of which his party is a member needs every leader they can get. At 25, he still has time on his side and can get back to his studies later, once the political climate in the country stabilises.
He may not get an Oxford scholarship. But, he could still get to Oxford through another scholarship or loan. Or, he can go to another university; Oxford — though an opportunity of a lifetime — is not the only means to success. There are alternatives, and, I am sure he is being wisely guided on this matter.
According to news reports, Saddiq said his he was offered RM5 million to leave Pribumi, tarnish the names of his party leaders and secure a place in Oxford University in the UK. I think, more than putting politics and nation first, if the reason he gave is anything to go by, then, the real reason he turned his back on such an offer was his commitment to integrity. He did not want to be bribed.
That is a remarkable act of sacrifice from someone so young. His actions put to shame all the elders who pocketed the money offered and maintained the status quo. They compromised their beliefs to fatten their pockets for whatever their need they used to justify their actions. But, Saddiq showed that he could not be bought over. That he would stay true to his beliefs, even if it costs!
It probably was a tough call for a young man to make. It would have been easier to compromise. Many may think he is crazy to defer an Oxford education and turn down RM5 million. It’s an incredible offer and a great amount of money. A great temptation!
But, he passed the test.
It’s something that all of us — young and old — can learn from. There are times in our lives when we compromise and there are times when we don’t. Now, in Malaysia, is the time when we must not compromise; now is the time to stand up and be counted for a better future for all. Now is NOT the time to sell our souls for a pocketful of ringgit.
Now is the time to be the Syed Saddiqs who will intervene for change and resist and say an emphatic “NO!” to this great money-backed endeavour to keep one party with a dwindling support base in power.
Now is the time to act as Syed Saddiq has!