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What Startups can Learn from Malaysia's Youngest Cabinet Minister Syed Saddiq This 25-year-old believes empowering entrepreneurship can be a game-changer for his country's economy

By Komal Nathani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Ever since Malaysia has got its youngest cabinet minister for Youth and Sports ministry, Syed Saddiq, the world is going ga-ga about his theories of life. The much-debated topic about having more yougsters in power is again in headlines with Saddiq's win as the Youth and Sports minister.

As much as Saddiq has his belief in politics to bring about a change in Malaysia, he also believes that empowering entrepreneurship can be a game-changer for the country's economy.

Entrepreneur Asia Pacific lists five learnings that startups worldwide can learn from Saddiq:

  • Age No Bar

The 93-year-old Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad appointed the 25-year-old Syed Saddiq as Youth and Sports minister about two months ago. Saddiq is also the MP for constituency of Muar. The youngest of four siblings in his family, Saddiq comes from a humble family background. His father is a construction worker and mother is an English teacher. For Saddiq, his family background was never a deterrent. In fact, it has motivated him to take young middle-class voices up and earn more respect from the community.

No matter where you belong to and what your background has been, one should never shy away from taking an initiative to bring a change. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

  • Sporting Spirit in Work

Saddiq ignored the offer from Oxford University when Malaysian Prime Minister appointed him as the cabinet's minister. Always determined to be in the politics, Saddiq was clear of his goals and he chose his political career over further studies. From the first day of taking over office, Saddiq talked about his plan on depoliticizing sports in the press conference.

"For far too long our performance in sports has been hampered by politics. We will make sure there will be less interference in sports management," Saddiq told media.

His political activism is something to take a note of. One should always be ready with the agenda of things to be done at a quick pace. There should be no room of delay for anything. In a bid to grow as a young startup the same spirit should be maintained by every startup.

  • Solving the Real Pain Points of People

An award-winning orator at 17, Saddiq won Asia's Best Speaker award thrice in the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship. He was a good debater from his days of high school and was always up for speaking in political and societal issues about Malaysia. In an interview with a Malaysian tabloid Star Online, he said that debating is not about arguing in a debate room. It's actually about coming up with solutions to make the world a better place.

Today's aspiring entrepreneurs should learn that solving real issues or real pain points of people is what entrepreneurship is about.

  • Be an Inspiration for Others

The charming politician has become an inspiration to many worldwide. He has already gained more than a million followers on Instagram, and has featured on fashion and entertainment magazines. With Malaysia's apathy for more youth involvement in voting, Saddiq is a flag-bearer of his party to involve more youth in voting and politics.

Entrepreneurs should try to make a difference in other's lives with their work. Initiatives of businesses across sections for societal or environmental change can surely evolve the ecosystem.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!


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