Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, sworn in

Sabri is a prominent member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the country’s longest-ruling party

NEW DELHI Ismail Sabri Yaakob was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister on Saturday, succeeding Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned on Monday after losing a majority of votes in Parliament’s lower house.

According to Al Jazeera, Sabri is a senior politician from the country’s longest-ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), but observers believe he is a stop-gap leader with little prospect of ending the country’s long-running turmoil.

Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah named Ismail Sabri as the country’s next Prime Minister on Friday, the national palace said, according to Xinhua.

Who’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob?

Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob has served as the 13th Deputy Prime Minister from July 2021 to August 2021 as well as Minister of Defense in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration of former PM Muhyiddin Yassin from March 2020 to August 2021. Since March 2004, he was also a Member of Parliament (MP) for Bera.

He is the Deputy Prime Minister with the shortest tenure, having served for only 40 days. He has been a prominent member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a component party of the Barisan Nasional coalition that is linked with the Perikatan Nasional coalition, and its Vice-President.

From March 2008 to May 2018, he held several cabinet positions in the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, including Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, and Minister of Youth and Sports, under former Prime Ministers Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak.

From March 2019 until February 2020, he served as the 15th Leader of the Opposition in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, which collapsed in the midst of the Malaysian political crisis.

He was named Senior Minister in Charge of Security in the Perikatan Nasional administration from March 2020 until his ascension to deputy premiership in July 2021.

In June 2021, when the party lost its support over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, he headed a group of his party, UMNO, that remained to back Prime Minister Muhyiddin.

After the government collapsed and Muhyiddin resigned, he successfully began discussions to become Prime Minister in August 2021, after gaining the backing of the majority of MPs.

Pertinently, Ismail Sabri’s statements in favour of ethnic Malay supremacy in Malaysia have caused a major controversy.

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