PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin, who is looking to put himself forward as a prime ministerial candidate in the next five to 10 years, says he is confident he has the political will to bring about change in the economy, education system and social welfare.
In an interview with BFM today, the health minister said he felt he was a viable candidate to lead the nation after his role during the Covid-19 pandemic, when he was first tasked with procuring vaccines as the then science, technology and innovation minister before managing the transition to the endemic phase as the health minister.
“I’ve been through a very tough two years handling the pandemic and I didn’t want to declare my aspirations before (this),” he said.
“I think we’ve done pretty well as a country and I’ve played a role in steering it out of the pandemic.
“That experience has led me to offer myself (as the prime minister) and at least put my name in the conversation … to lead the country maybe in the next five to 10 years.”
Khairy, Barisan Nasional’s candidate for the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat, first opened up about his prime ministerial dreams during a ceramah last Tuesday, when he said he hoped to become prime minister “one day”.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been among those who have since backed the former Umno Youth chief for the top post.
Asked what he could offer Malaysia, the three-time Rembau MP said he hoped to reform the economy, education system and social welfare programmes.
“We have to look at the country’s economic structure and if it can drive the country forward in the next decade. It’s still set up in a way that is, I believe, very, very … not optimal.
“We have to relook government revenue and expenditure, and how progressive our subsidies and taxation systems are.
“As for social protection, we have to make sure no one is left behind,” he said, adding that retirement savings are a “huge issue” for Malaysians.
Asked if he has the gumption to push through unpopular policies, if needed, Khairy said the public only need to look to the Generational End Game (GEG) bill as an example.
The GEG bill seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007. It was slated to be tabled for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat last month, but Parliament was dissolved to make way for GE15.
“I have made tough decisions and tough calls during the pandemic,” he said. “I’m not somebody who shies away from (that).”-FMT