Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Old, The New and The Overeager

Latest January 30th picture of the Cabinet Minister (from NST Online). Will it be a last hurrah for many?

Syed Nazri's article in the NST today, "Learn the art of the graceful exit" revealed several interesting fact:

  • The average age of the 31 cabinet ministers is 59, disproportionate for a country with about 70 per cent of its population under 40.
  • The average is not expected to be any lower for the nearly 800 elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat and state assemblies.
  • More than half of the ministers have served for more than two terms in cabinet.
  • One third of the cabinet members are 64 and above.
An interesting observation from a quote, "I remember (Datuk Seri Dr) Lim Keng Yaik (LKY) being appointed as minister with special functions in charge of new villages (in 1972) when I was in secondary school. Today, I am about to become a grandfather, and he is still in the cabinet."

Retiring LKY, 69-year-old Minister of Energy, Water and Communications and 26 years Gerakan President became Minister when Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was just 9.

Other than LKY, the long serving politicians are Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu (29 years MIC President and Cabinet Minister), Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz (30 years MP, 28 years Minister), Lim Kit Siang (De Facto DAP leader since 1969), DAP Chairman Karpal Singh (34 years in active politics), Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (Cabinet Minister in 1972 and 27 years Chief Minister) and PAS Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat (40 years elected representative).

Since 2004 UMNO General Assembly, Dato Najib has been mentioning of "meremajakan UMNO" which literally talks of youth but meant as reinvigorating UMNO. Abdullah's speech at a briefing to the party's grassroots leaders in Kuala Lumpur a fortnight ago, had given "insinuation to get everyone prepared for a regeneration in the party".

Abdullah spoke that of "Malaysian society ... well-informed and educated and the information age had opened up new frontiers". Some of the ministers, it is said, do not even know how to retrieve an email or send a text message.

The atrition process is normal and some old warlord will need to be dispensed. Despite the plea and claim of "services and sacrifices", many old faces will have to make way. This is usually a natural process in UMNO. Will it be really be significant this time around? The Toyol Code conspiracy will be affirmed any day now.

In the midst of the exuberance of the young and eager, the reminder by Dato Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin in Bernama Malay news Februari 3hb, 2008 is timely.

He said that many aspire to be people' representative after just two three years in politics. He served as political secretary to Tun Dr Mahathir for 19 years without requesting to seek office as State Assemblymen or Member of Parliament.

He gave a passing shot to emphasised that he did not interfere with the administration but focus only on his assigned job. What was he refering to? Who would dare interfere with the PM's administrative work?

70 year old Pak Aziz, as he is affectionately called in some circle, is believed to retire and his seat as Shah Alam Member of Parliament replaced by 63 year old former Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Muhammad bin Muhammad Taib. He will be 64 soon and will not be significant to bring the average age down. Could 68 year old Pak Lah (MP 20 years, Minister 20 years, PM 4 year) help?

1 comment:

);-( Samurai said...


Interesting facts indeed. But I must say this, age is a relative subject.

Dr Mahathir was a self confessed computer illiterate when he coined up MSC, introduction of e-Government etc.

What we need are knowledgable leaders, leaders with the initiative to think and leaders with a sense of management and administration skills.

Its of no benefit to us if we had young leaders with a long list of academic qualification but without leadershp, oratory or management skills.

If I refer you to some of the so-called "young" leadrs within the ruling party/parties and cabinet today....I rest my case...

My Say