Bangsar, Thu 17 March: Re Onn Hafiz Ghazi, the new Menteri Besar of Johor, I wish people would stop talking about how young he is. Because 43 is NOT young. Najib Razak was 23 in 1976 when he was made deputy minister and became the Menteri Besar of Pahang at 29. Shahrir Samad, who made such a big fuss about the manner Onn Hafiz was brought in to replace incumbent MB Hasni Mohammad, was just 30 in 1980 when he was made Deputy Finance Minister and was a good decade younger than Onn Hafiz today when he became FT Minister in 1983. Onn Hafiz, born 2 March 1979, had just turned 43 and that, brothers and sisters, is not young. Sure, he’s a baby compared with 96-year old Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but why is the Tun still around and threatening to be still relevant come the next general election? Anwar Ibrahim is 74 and that’s old but when he became the Deputy PM in 1993 he was only 46. More perspectives: Sanna Marin, the PM of Finland, is 37; Jacinda Adern, the Kiwi PM, is 41; and Justin Trudeau was Onn Hafiz’s age in 2015 when he became PM of Canada.
So the new MB of Johor is not young, OK? If you ask me, I’d say he’s about the right age to lead the State. But is he the right person to lead Johor? Time will tell. If he is going to kow-tow to every whim and fancy of the palace, then he isn’t the right dude to lead but he would probably last longer than Hasni Mohamad, who was MB for just a little over two years (Feb 2020 to March 2022).
Umno president Zahid Hamidi said he will address the issue of the appointmet of Onn Hafiz as Johor MB at the party’s general assembly tomorrow. That will be a great exercise in futility. In other words, the explanation may be relevant if you are a party member with interest (and the majority of Umno memberi are without interest or benefit, for that matter). Tomorrow, I bet you my last ringgit, Zahid will tell the assembly to support the Johor Sultan and the Ruler’s choice of an MB. Not just because Zahid and Sultan Yem are good, old friends but because Zahid knows better than to try and usurp the authority of the Istana in this matter.
Read Know Your Place and learn what Zahid and the Umno leaders already know.
What I’d like to know is what Hasni Mohammad, the former MB, did not do for the palace or for the State that warrranted him to be replaced despite his party’s huge victory at the Johor state elections. If that was really the reason for his short stint, as some would want you to believe.