ISKANDAR PUTERI: Even though he himself is considered one of the youngest politicians ever appointed to hold the office of Johor Menteri Besar (MB), Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi is of the opinion that it is high time for him to get involved in the creation of more leaders of the future to ensure continuous development and stability in Johor.

Onn Hafiz, 44, who is the great-great-grandson to the first MB of Johor, Datuk Ja’afar Mohamed, and the great-grandson to the seventh MB, Datuk Onn Ja’afar, said he viewed the grooming process for leaders of the future as very important and must be given proper attention.

“Personally, I am grateful that the first Johor MB Datuk Ja’afar Mohamed was my great-great-grandfather, his three sons were also appointed as MB and one of them was Datuk Onn Ja’afar, my great-grandfather.

“They all went through the grooming process. Back then, the Royal House of Johor groomed them and they went to England with royal children to study and then returned to Johor and polished up their Malay and entered the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK). They were all well groomed,“ he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama here recently.

Two other Ja’afar’s sons who had held the office of Johor MB were Datuk Abdullah Ja’afar (the third) and Datuk Mustapha Ja’afar (the fourth).

Onn Hafiz, who is also Machap assemblyman, said he also considered himself as having gone through the grooming process and gained valuable experiences during his 12 years of working with his uncle, now Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, including as his political secretary.

Hence, he said the state government was planning to establish a School of Leadership as an aspiration to create more leaders among the young generation, especially those with leadership credibility and integrity, trustworthy, responsible, visionary, smart and knowledgeable to steer Johor towards a fully developed and competitive state in the future.

The MB said the plan had been discussed with the State Youth, Sports, Entrepreneur Development, Cooperative and Human Resources Committee chairman Mohd Hairi Mad Shah, particularly in identifying suitable methods to create new leaders in various fields.

“I want to create leaders that are passionate about growing the state.

“At the same time, I have to be very mindful that leaders cannot be too attached to the position,“ he said.

When asked whether he felt the pressure to keep up with the reputation and leadership legacy of his forefathers, Onn Hafiz said:

“In terms of legacy and all that, I don’t actually feel the pressure. Like I said before, I’m guided by my responsibilities as a Muslim leader because at the end of the day, I will be questioned whether or not I have done my best in this life,“ he said.

On the possibility that he would one day lead Johor UMNO, he said the matter was for the party to decide.

“Just like at the federal level where the Prime Minister is party vice-president and party president is not the Prime Minister, I think it is the same for Johor.

“Personally, I’m not chasing positions. Whatever the top leadership decides, I’ll follow. I’m a partyman,“ he said, adding that Datuk Hasni Mohamad, who is the former MB and the current Johor UMNO chief, has been very supportive of his leadership as the new MB and both of them were working well together now. - Bernama