Time for the young to step up — Mohd Firdaus Jamal

NOVEMBER 24 — This Thursday, Budget 2021 will be put to a vote in the Dewan Rakyat. Whether the Bill will be passed is not really my concern at all. Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has clarified that even if the Budget is defeated, it doesn't mean that civil servants will not be paid and our efforts to combat Covid-19 will come to an end.

What I am concerned about is what happens if the Budget is defeated. By convention, PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his entire Cabinet need to resign. The question is who is a suitable candidate to take over?

There are four leading contenders for the post, whether or not there's a snap poll which should be avoided at all costs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are Dr Mahathir, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

For all intents and purposes, none of them are suitable. Dr Mahathir has served twice as PM, the last stint leaving much to be desired, capping with his sudden, unforced resignation that threw Pakatan Harapan into turmoil resulting in its ouster from Putrajaya.

Najib is out of the question. The 6th PM's shenanigans in the 1MDB saga is well documented and has made him an international political pariah. Besides, we can't have a convict sentenced to 12 years imprisonment running a country.

Likewise, Umno president Zahid faces a slew of graft charges. And his track record in the previous Cabinet and inability to hold his party together make him a poor choice to lead a nation facing the twin threats of Covid-19 and economic uncertainty.

This leaves us only with Anwar. He could have been the man of the hour, but his willingness to join forces with Najib and Zahid has demolished whatever credibility left of him. To make things worse, he's known as a political chameleon.

What I am trying to say is that unless we change our political structure and culture, our choices for the premiership are limited by the names mentioned above. We are stuck with Muhyiddin for better or worse.

This is why I feel that the young need to step up. The likes of Khairy Jamaluddin, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Syed Saddiq need to start filling those big shoes. And they need to do it fast.

We need to start expanding our pool of potential top political office-bearers who are free from baggage and more in touch with the rapidly changing needs in a globalised world.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or organisation(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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