Frankly Speaking: Syed Saddiq versus Hausboom

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 11, 2019 - February 17, 2019.
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The country is facing challenging times. The property market is lacklustre, to put it mildly, the stock market is listless, the ringgit remains insipid and the cost of living keeps rising despite assurances that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Externally, there are fears about the impact of the US-China trade war. Worryingly, some forecast an imminent downturn that could be worse than the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.

Politically, there seems to be so much uncertainty with the current and past leaders at each other’s throats, seemingly oblivious or indifferent to the welfacre of the rakyat.

In the midst of all this, we have Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman caught in a war of words with the founder of local soft drink manufacturer Hausboom.

While Hausboom’s founder claims Syed Saddiq did not promote the soft drink as promised, the minister says he brought it to Cabinet meetings, and even nudged Tan Sri Vincent Tan to make it available at 7-Eleven stores. “I did all of that with the intention to help,” he said.

The minister’s noble intentions aside, the manner in which Hausboom’s founder has attacked him makes one think there is more to it than meets the eye.

Perhaps Syed Saddiq should clarify his position and state clearly that he did not receive anything in return for his endorsement. He should also explain why he is endorsing or helping to promote such brands.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief is only in his twenties but he should know better than to get caught in such situations, exposing himself and his ministry to potential conflicts of interest, and inviting criticism.

He should stick to improving the state of the youth and raising sporting standards.

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