KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 ― Parti Aspirasi Sains Malaysia was initially a creation on Twitter merely as a satirical counterpoint to Islamist party PAS, but the party may end up a reality as it seeks to register with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) today.
With its creator and founding executive committee now taking a more serious tone, the party which touts itself as prioritising evidence-based policies backed by science and data, said it will focus on an anti-poverty nation, a human-centered economy and sustainable development.
“The party will be the country’s first science political party where meritocracy is enshrined in its constitution, in tandem with a needs-based and evidence-based approach to policy making.
“Its mission is to improve equality of opportunities for all Malaysians and push the nation towards the pursuit of knowledge, for the benefit of humanity through continued application of science and reason regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion,” it said in a statement.
It also said that it will not have any gender or youth-based wingsm or follow the traditional organisational hierarchy, but differentiate itself as a home for Malaysians who have yet to align themselves with any current race, religious, persona or generational based political parties.
“With more than 250 people registered as prospective members, and 15 committee members in the Executive Body, the party hopes to light the tinder of science and reason towards a brighter political future of Malaysia, led by rational political leaders,” it said.
Speaking to Malay Mail, its pro-tem president and founder Kenneth Chai explained that the idea for the party came as a parody ― its initials share the same letters with PAS.
“So I was trolling as a PAS member (being sarcastic) in the beginning, commenting on their political decisions and actions. Then one PAS member DM-ed me to stop using their party name, so I just said alright, I’ll start my own party.
“My Twitter followers know I always post, criticise and argue about science as I’m a STEM teacher. So I started a parody, Parti Ajaran Sains, to troll them,” he said, referring to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Chai, who described himself as an educator and farmer, and holds a MSc in Energy Futures, said the bigger reason behind the eventual ambition to form the party was him realising that many Malaysians are no longer partisan.
“[The parties] are mostly race or religion-based, or to make one person the prime minister kind ― and most are full of old men.
“I think we need a party that transcends all these and provide a platform that focuses on evidence-based policies backed by science and reason, not what colour your skin is, or where your ancestors worship,” he said.
Chai said the party has also listed eight members of its founding executive body including Chai.
However, he added that the party will focus on getting approved by the RoS ― because it understands that it will be difficult. Bigger parties such as Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air are still struggling with their registrations.
“If you're tired of the current political standstill, that's going nowhere. If you're sick of the discussion about something you can't change ― your skin colour, your gender ― be the change with us, and let us light the tinder of science and reason towards a brighter political future of Malaysia, led by rational political leaders.
“And we’d like you to talk to us. Tell us what you think should be done or how things could be done differently,” he said.
The party will host its Scientific Symposium 2021 this September.
*A previous version of this story contained errors which have since been corrected.