Nepotism is defined “as the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.”
Under the Trump White House, the United States America practised nepotism as Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were 7granted senior unofficial roles in the Administration with top secret security clearance because they were related to the President of the United States.
But when it comes to politics, can we judge even the widely criticised Najib as being nepotistic?
And so, to be fair can we accuse Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim or even Tun Dr Mahathir of being nepotistic as well?
Let’s look at the case of the Prime Minister first.
In the case of Tun Dr Mahathir, his youngest son, Dato Seri Mukrhiz Mahathir is the current Menteri Besar of Kedah. Prima facie, one may scream “nepotism.”
But that is an ill formed conclusion to make without a careful understanding of the facts.
Dato Seri Mukhriz was the ex-Kedah Menteri Besar, having led a successful campaign to capture the state from Pakatan Rakyat in GE 13. He then was subjected to an internal ‘coup de tat’ as Dato Seri Mukhriz sided with his father in opposing “Cash Was King” Najib, leading to a revolt led by strange people like Lebai Sudin and other Najibites in Kedah.
Kicked out, few gave Mukhriz any chance of leading Pakatan Harapan to take over Kedah as PAS was playing a third party spoiler role. But he did and was appointed Menteri Besar. So, in what way was this appointment ‘nepotistic?’. Mukhriz is a bona-fide credible leader both at the Federal and State level as he preserved his reputation by fighting 1MDB Najib. Who also happens to be the son of the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad. Other UMNO leaders such as Nur Jazlan had the chance to speak out, but chose to remain quiet and lost. But Mukhriz did, and won!
(Mukhriz credentials as his own man was confirmed in a stormy UMNO Supreme Council Meeting. Some of the members were unhappy with his public stance of not supporting Najib 1MDB. When some unknown joker tried to run down Mukhriz, he blasted the person and rightfully pointed out that under him, Barisan Nasional had re-captured Kedah from Pakatan Rakyat. He ended by telling the person not to challenge UMNO Kedah. He was dropped later on and with that UMNO Kedah was wiped out in the subsequent General Election).
And now, with the same line of reasoning, the case for the Prime Minister in Waiting is clear as well.
Now, we will have a case of Anwar as PM and his wife, Dr Wan Azizah and his daughter Nurul Izzah as Members of Parliament of the ruling government .
Again, can we shout – “nepotism”?
Did not Wan Azizah campaign hard and strong for Pakatan Harapan? Was not here ‘sisterhood camaraderie’ with Tun Siti Hasmah the proof people needed to understand Pakatan Harapan was united in pushing out Najib 1MDB?
Did she not fight as an election candidate for the Pandan seat, and likewise Nurul Izzah for Permatang Pauh? Were their victories secured due to public support rather than the will of the husband and father.
Thus the Nepotism argument fails. Both of them won their seats and were not appointed as Members of Parliament.
In conclusion, Politics in Malaysia is free for all. It is a risky business where families may have advantages. This is true in both the Government and the Opposition – UMNO and PAS as well. However, it does not exclude individuals from non-political families from climbing the political ladder or even breaking political records, Syed Saddiq being perhaps the most obvious example.