What does PM see in Syed Saddiq?

Mariam Mokhtar


COMMENT | What is it with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and articulate young men?

Around four decades ago, one young man captured Mahathir's attention. He had a strong following, formed the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), and led student protests to highlight the plight of the starving poor in Baling.

Alarmed by the Iranian Revolution and its sweep across the world, Mahathir could see that the Malays were gravitating towards PAS and abandoning Umno. The party was losing its hold on the Malays.

Mahathir was forced to act, and so the ambitious young orator was handpicked to help transform Umno and make the party more appealing, in the religious sense.

Anwar Ibrahim accepted Mahathir's invitation, experienced a meteoric rise in the cabinet, and was groomed to become Mahathir's successor. The rest is history. Despite falling out, they teamed up to rescue the nation from kleptocracy. The play is ongoing. The stakes are high.

Today, Mahathir's blue-eyed boy appears to be Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, the youngest man, at 25 years, to become a Malaysian federal minister.

Touted as Asia's greatest debater, what else has he to offer Malaysians? When he opens his mouth, we often wonder what Mahathir saw in Syed Saddiq...

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