Who can replace Salahuddin?

KHAIRIL ANWAR MOHD AMIN, NURUL NABILA AHMAD HALIMY
26 Jul 2023 12:53pm
Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub - FILE PIX
Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub - FILE PIX
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The passing of Menu Rahmah icon Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub who took his last breath at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Kedah on Sunday has impacted Malaysians deeply.

At a time when the people are struggling with the issue of the rising cost of living and the uncertainty of the world economy after the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the deceased who was entrusted to head the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry had successfully coined the Rahmah initiative which had a positive impact on the nation.

Being truly committed in carrying out his responsibilities as a minister and the Pulai MP as well as the Simpang Jeram assemblyman in Johor, the deputy Amanah president who was dearly adored by peers and opponents was hard to replace.

According to a source from Amanah, there are at least five names among the party leaders who may be considered for the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister post.

"Based on the practice of distributing ministerial positions at the unity government level, Amanah was given a quota of two ministerial posts namely the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry which is led by the president himself Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu and the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry led by the deceased.

"If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim decides to choose a replacement candidate based on the party's quota, there are five main Amanah leaders who can be considered.

"The five leaders are the two vice-presidents Adly Zahari (Deputy Defence Minister) and senator Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof. Other candidates are Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Hulu Langat MP Mohd Sany Hamzan and Sri Gading MP Aminolhuda Hassan," the source told Sinar Premium on Tuesday.

If Salahuddin's replacement candidate is chosen based on the party hierarchy and experience, the source explained that Adly, Mujahid (former Religious Minister) and Dr Dzulkefly (former Health Minister) are the best candidates.

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According to the source, Adly is the only Amanah vice-president who had successfully won a parliamentary seat in the 15th General Election (GE15) besides having experience as the Melaka Chief Minister.

"Although he had been appointed as Deputy Defence Minister, Adly is seen to have the character closest to the deceased and had evidently carried out the responsibility of Melaka Chief Minister adequately before.

"As for Dr Dzulkefly, his excellent service record when he was Health Minister had gotten him to be considered a qualified candidate. The same goes for Mujahid who has experience as Religious Minister and was recently appointed as a senator," the source revealed.

If the Prime Minister wants to choose new Amanah candidates among the party's MPs who are fresher and more vocal, names such as Mohd Sany and Aminolhuda who is now Johor Amanah chairman can also be considered, the source added.

Meanwhile, Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar expected the process of appointing a Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister by the Prime Minister to be done after the state polls.

He said the appointment needed to be expedited because the portfolio can be considered as a critical ministry and was the focus of the people all the time.

In regards to the possibility that Salahuddin's successor would be selected among leaders from other parties in the unity government, Hisommudin said it was not impossible.

He also projected names such as Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh and Balik Pulau MP Datuk Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as possible alternatives for the Prime Minister to choose.

For the Pulai seat, Hisommudin found that former Johor state assembly speaker Suhaizan Kaiat was the best candidate to defend the parliamentary seat held by Salahuddin for the past two terms.

This, he said was because Suhaizan was currently the political secretary to the deceased and has been entrusted to fully look after the Pulai constituency post GE15.

"I think there will be no problem for Suhaizan to defend the Pulai parliamentary seat in the upcoming by-election because Salahuddin's influence is very strong in that area and the Pulai seat can be considered a mixed seat synonymous with Pakatan Harapan's (PH) dominance," he said.

For the Simpang Jeram state seat, Hisomuddin believed that there were two suitable candidates for Amanah namely Johor PH and Amanah secretary Faizul Salleh and former Pulai Sebatang assemblyman Muhammad Taqiuddin Cheman.

"In regards to the question of whether the Simpang Jeram state seat may be contested by members of the deceased's family including his six children as a continuation of his political legacy, I do not see that coming to fruition.

"I don't see that his children will follow in the political footsteps of the deceased. The potential one is his eldest daughter Fatihah Salahuddin, but she is still young," he further said.

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