Asia's top debater Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who is now a target of pro-Umno bloggers following his criticism of the prime minister, admits he has been to a disco but rejects the label “kaki disco” (disco junkie).
Bloggers have been spreading photos of the final-year International Islamic University Malaysia student clubbing, and called him a disco junkie.
Responding with the hashtag #IAmNotPerfect, Syed Saddiq said: “I cannot change my past but I can change my future.”
“I have been to a disco. I won't deny that... (but) I am not a disco junkie as alleged. I am not a perfect human being, nor am I a perfect Muslim.
“I am just like everybody else, who has made mistakes. But the past does not define who I am now. Ask my parents, closest friends, ustaz (religious teachers), those who know me,” he said on his Facebook yesterday.
Rejecting the label disco junkie, he added: “I have explained and come clean about my past. Would the prime minister do the same on 1MDB?”
Syed Saddiq has been critical of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his administration over alleged financial scandals, such as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and unpopular policies.
He recently signed the Citizens’ Declaration initiated by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad which called for Najib's resignation.
His criticism against Najib led to him being barred from three public universities last week, where he had speaking engagements.
Despite the personal attacks by pro-Umno blogs, Syed Saddiq said he would not stop what he was doing, nor would he lie.
“They are trying to shake me up and silent me. This is not the first time I have been threatened in such manner.
“Many suggested that I should deny the allegation, keep quiet and push this aside. But I am not going to do that. I am not a politician. I am not going to lie and I am not going to twist facts,” he said.
Syed Saddiq also said his detractors would not break him.
He said by threatening his personal life, they only demonstrated how desperate people could get just to cling on to power.
“If you think you can threaten me like this, break my spirit and stop my struggles, then you are mistaken. I am not an interested party, but a 23-year-old guy who loves his country.
“If you think this will blur my and the people's sight on the real issues, you are also mistaken. We can prove you wrong,” said the winner of the 2015 Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship, Asia's Overall Best Speaker awards at the 2015 United Asian Debating Championship in Bali, Indonesia.
“I will not stop fighting for the truth even at the cost of my own reputation. ‘Biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata’,” he said, using the Malay idiom that roughly means better to die fighting than to live ashamed. – March 14, 2016.