Malaysiakini Letter

Syed Saddiq's not-so-smart plan

Suthahar Selvaraj
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Over the past month the Pakatan Harapan government has been facing numerous issues ranging from schools to national unity.

There have been calls for ministers to resign at every issue and so far the ruling coalition has resisted this call and none of the ministers appointed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has closed their “shop”.

While it is a norm for the opposition to ask for a minister to step down at the smallest issue, the Pakatan Harapan government is different. In this cabinet, a minister can ask another cabinet colleague to quit through a memorandum and that too submitted to the prime minister.

He can then go for a cabinet meeting and declare that he tried to convince his wing not to handover such a memorandum but having failed, he joined the crowd.

This is the consequence of appointing those who are not ready to shoulder the responsibilities befitting a minister.

They do not know the unwritten rules of being a cabinet minister. They, too, have forgotten the collective responsibility of the cabinet and to stand behind another cabinet colleague when such calls are made.

And this is what our Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman did a few days ago. The minister, who is also Bersatu Youth wing chief, decided to back a memorandum by the movement asking for the resignation of his colleague, Minister in the Prime Minister Senator P Waythamoorthy over the Seafield temple fiasco.

Waythamoorthy has been the target of Umno and PAS from the day he was appointed to the cabinet. These two opposition parties know that weakening Waythamoorthy indirectly weakens Pakatan Harapan and Indian support for the ruling coalition.

In an effort to please Malay voters, Syed Saddiq has swayed and decided to bend to the pressure of his Youth wing in asking for his fellow minister to quit.

If this trend is allowed to continue it will definitely cause a divide among the ministers in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s cabinet. Ministers will call for their colleagues to quit just because their party members are not happy with certain ministers.

This is definitely not cabinet collective responsibility.

Another glaring point exhibited through this not-so-smart plan is that Syed Saddiq has lost all control over his Youth wing. He is supposed to head the wing. But if the head decides to follow the tail, then there is something really wrong with his style of leadership.

He ceases to be a leader but instead becomes a follower. These kind of cabinet members are not even fit to be called ministers. Supporting a useless cause using race and religion to your advantage in wanting to garner more Malay support is the Umno way.

Syed Saddiq should not use the Umno model to try garner more Malay support. He should bear in mind that his parliamentary constituency has 59 percent non-Malay votes. The minister might have forgotten that while he is trying hard to please the Malays, his support from the non-Malays is eroding.

If the 25-year-old keeps going on with his “mission” to appease the Malays, he might just find himself out of the Dewan Rakyat after the next general election. He might just end up as a one-term MP and a flash in the pan.

The young minister needs experienced people by his side. He needs advice from older politicians at the national level. Do not ever think that you won’t need the support of the non-Malays or even Waythamoorthy when your test comes.

Burning the bridge by asking another minister to quit is definitely not a wise move. Syed Saddiq, please grow up politically.

Related:

'Syed Saddiq did not lead group asking for Waytha's resignation'


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.


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