KUALA LUMPUR: Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has become Malaysia’s youngest-ever minister after he was sworn in as the Youth and Sports Minister on Monday (Jul 2).
The 25-year-old was one of the 13 ministers and 23 deputy ministers sworn in before Malaysia's king, Sultan Muhammad V, at the royal palace.
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak was also aged 25 when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Post in 1978.
Syed Saddiq's predecessor, Khairy Jamaluddin, was the country’s youngest minister in 2013 when he was appointed to the Cabinet at the age of 37.
Khairy on Twitter congratulated the new minister, saying that he hoped Syed Saddiq would be able to “bring greater success” to the ministry.
Syed Saddiq, who turns 26 in December, said his appointment was a significant recognition by Pakatan Harapan on the views and voices of Malaysian youth.
"We hope through this appointment, it will open more opportunities for young people to stand up for themselves in the future. Young people are not only leaders for the future, but also today," he said to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.
He added that the main thing he wanted to do as a minister was to bring about a change of attitude and culture among the youth.
In a statement, Syed Saddiq also pledged to ensure that the youth continue to be the main focus of the country's development agenda.
"The government today is an inclusive government and always prioritises merit in ideas and contributions regardless of age and background."
RISE IN POLITICS
As an International Islamic University law graduate, the youngest of four siblings is widely known in the debating community after having won Asia’s Best Speaker award at the Asian British Parliamentary (ABP) Debating Championship three times.
The Johor-born youth chief of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia recently turned down a second offer from Oxford University for a Master’s in Public Policy, saying that he had “to reform and serve the people of Malaysia”.
He came to prominence in 2016 when he and 24 other youths – a group that called themselves Change Led by the Young Generation (Challenger) – wrote a statement rejecting Najib Razak’s leadership over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
In the 14th general election, Syed Saddiq won the Muar parliament seat after defeating the incumbent, Razali Ibrahim, with a majority of 6,953 votes.