On Pride Day organiser hire, Syed Saddiq says no formal appointments yet

  • Jul 7, 2018
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Eleven days after Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was elected Muar MP, a WhatsApp group was created to help share his schedule with the media.

The group administrator introduced himself as Numan Afifi, a "press officer" to Syed Saddiq.

Critics, however, pointed out earlier this week that Numan was the organiser of a Pride Day breaking of fast event last year, and questioned his apparent appointment by Syed Saddiq.

They insist that it is inappropriate for a "champion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) causes" to be a government staffer.

In response, Syed Saddiq stressed that he has not "formally appointed" any press officers or special assistants since being sworn into office last Monday.

"I am still in the process of interviewing officers to serve under the office of the Youth and Sports Minister.

"I do not want to rush in making the appointments because I understand that leading the ministry is a big responsibility," he said in a Facebook post last night.

No appointments made

When contacted, Numan (photo) echoed this, saying that no formal appointments have been made for any positions in Syed Saddiq's office.

"The minister has said no formal appointments have been made in the ministry yet," Numan said.

Describing the Bersatu Youth chief as a friend, Numan, a former DAP Youth leader, said his current role is to assist Syed Saddiq until a new press secretary has been appointed.

"He (Syed Saddiq) is still looking for people to join his team.

"On the last day of his first week, he said on his latest statement on social media that he is opening up applications to join his office," said Numan, who previously led a movement dubbed the Pelangi Campaign.

When questioned for his personal feelings on the issue, Numan said, "No comments on that. I don't know what to feel now."

A check on the ministry's online staff directory revealed that while Numan's name was listed as a "special officer" (pegawai khas) in the minister's office, clicking on the link now led to a 404 error message.

Meanwhile, to comments on his Facebook post by those continuing to criticise Numan's purported appointment, or those urging the minister to appoint someone from Bersatu Youth, Syed Saddiq replied that the country needed to obtain "the best."

"Early on, when we started Armada (Bersatu Youth), we did it this way (selecting from the best). Many had admonished us for not taking in 'the early warriors that exited Umno and others' but Armada (remained) solid...

"Don't worry bro. In every organisation there is balance. We need the best for our beloved country."