It is time Prime Minister weed out the under-performers and high on the list should be Syed Saddiq.
Pakatan Harapan is entering its 18th month in power amid increased public disquiet over its unfulfilled electoral pledges and signs of turning into BN 2.0 especially when it comes to communal posturing. If the coalition does not pull up its socks, it’d only fulfil PH-doomsayers’ prophesy of it being a one-term government.
It is time Prime Minister weed out the under-performers and high on his list should be Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. At 26, the former debater has got little to show in terms of performance. On the contrary, he’s very much a liability in the PH government based on deep public cynicism whenever his name crops up.
Perhaps his only claim to the Cabinet position was his close association with PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad. But public expectations of him nose-dived even before he could warm his seat as Minister.
He started his Ministerial career on the wrong foot with the controversial appointment of a LGBT activist as a “media officer”. This only shows Syed Saddiq’s shallow understanding of the sensitivities around touchy subjects and how his idealism is not tampered with political reality. Syed Saddiq’s fumbling had just started.
In August this year, he called on Zakir Naik to be deported, joining several other Ministers who were incensed with the controversial Islamic preacher’s racist statements. But 10 days after that, Syed Saddiq hosted Zakir Naik to a dinner at the former’s residence and called on Malaysians to forgive and move on.
That a young political upstart can shamelessly reverse his position for political expediency sake only goes to show the kind of character he possesses and what kind of political monster he can turn into if, God forbid, he continues on this political trajectory.
That Syed Saddiq, who is also Bersatu Youth head, has a racist pandering streak is quite obvious. He tried to become a hero by speaking up for FoodPanda riders aggrieved by the food delivery company’s recent switch to a new payment scheme.
Most of the affected riders were Malays and of that, a large number came from Johor, Syed Saddiq’s home state. The Minister had claimed that he had raised the issue in Cabinet – a claim refuted by the Prime Minister. In the end, the company refused to budge, and it was Syed Saddiq who ended up with a political black eye from the whole debacle.
Undeterred, Syed Saddiq then tried to play “hero” by pledging to engage with youngsters involved in basikal lajak. It was no coincidence that his proposal came amid rising racial tension following the recent acquittal of a Malaysian Chinese salesgirl whose vehicle was involved in the death of eight teenage Malay cyclists two years ago.
But Syed Saddiq is not a total incompetent. He knows how to cozy up to corporations. Breaking from tradition of not openly crossing the line between politics and businesses, he met up with tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan to push for a soft drink product to be sold in 7-Eleven stores which the tycoon owns.
Last month, his meeting with Cleo International owner, Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddi, better known as “Cleopatra”, to discuss matters related to e-spots, raised eyebrows. The company was barely a week old during the meeting. Even the Federal Territory PKR Youth demanded Syed Saddiq clear the air over allegations of abuse of power over that meeting. “Cleopatra” was also a Bersatu member.
This is not the only incident which shows Syed Saddiq’s atrocious track record in not knowing where to draw the party-Ministerial line. In August this year, his Ministry appointed 13 state sports development co-ordinators. All of them were state or divisional leaders from Bersatu.
But perhaps the most compelling reason why Syed Saddiq should voluntary resign is his indiscretion when it comes to his personal life. This chap had no qualms putting up photos of himself soaking in the bathtub on his Instagram (which had since been removed following public outcry).
While his peers may find such public expressions the norm, this is hardly a becoming behaviour for a Minister. In 2017, Syed Saddiq had lodged a police report after receiving photos, which had given him a “sleepless night”. It is said that similar photos – whose authenticity cannot be established – made its rounds again during the Tanjung Piai by-election.
The list of reasons why Syed Saddiq needs to resign as Minister can go on and on. But looking at his track record so far, it is time for him to leave gracefully or risk having PH dragged down by his sheer incompetence and tainted image.
The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader Choo Hong Ting of Taman Bukit Serdang.