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Who Is Malaysia’s Ninth Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob?

Who Is Malaysia’s Ninth Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob?

From Minister, to Deputy Prime Minister, to Prime Minister in under 2 years.

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He is Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister, appointed in the midst of political, health, and economic crises.

Even though he has won the tussle to become the next Premier, Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will now have to get his hands dirty and steer a country that’s struggling with the pandemic and the ramifications that come with it.

This veteran has been in politics for more than 20 years with his most recent role being part of the PN cabinet under the leadership of Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin, first serving as a Senior Minister before moving up to the become Deputy Prime Minister.

As Senior Minister (Defense), one of his tasks was informing the public on the latest developments related to non-health activities such as border patrol and the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

We take a look at his history and rise in politics.

Early days

Born in Temerloh, Pahang on 18 January 1960, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob received his early education in the state before continuing his studies in Law at Universiti Malaya.

He is also the father of four children including Dafi, a contestant in Akademi Fantasia, a syndicated reality television series in the mid-2000s.

Before stepping into politics, he used to be a lawyer and held the Director position for the Southeast Pahang Development Authority (DARA), the Tourism Promotion Board of Malaysia, and Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex.

His first stint as a Cabinet Minister came in 2008 where he was the Youth and Sports Minister under the premiership of Tun Abdullah Badawi.

Ismail then changed portfolios a few times until 2018 including being the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (2009 – 2013), Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (2013-2015), and Minister of Rural and Regional Development (2015-2018).

He was involved with a bit of controversy in the past with the creation of the MARA Digital Mall, a supposed alternative and competitor to Low Yat Plaza after an incident that went viral during the time.

Ismail Sabri: Digital giants to open shops at Mara Digital Mall | Malaysia  | Malay Mail
Credit: Malay Mail

Return to government

Ismail came back into the Cabinet as part of the new coalition, Perikatan Nasional between Parti Bersatu Bumiputera Malaysia (Bersatu), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and Barisan Nasional.

He was one of four Senior Ministers appointed alongside Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (International Trade and Industry Minister); Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof (Works Minister) and Dr. Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (Education Minister).

After the Covid-19 pandemic entered our shores, he became one of the key spokespersons for the government alongside the Prime Minister and Ministry of Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Covid-19: No directive from federal govt to shut down night markets, weekly  'tamu' in Tawau, says Ismail Sabri | Malaysia | Malay Mail
Credit: Malay Mail

Moving up as Deputy Prime Minister

Ismail Sabri’s stint as Deputy Prime Minister was a fairly short one as he was appointed at a time when UMNO’s eventual exodus was looming with the party’s President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi looking to withdraw support from Perikatan Nasional.

It was announced on 7 July that he was to become the Deputy Prime Minister who would continue to oversee the Ministry of Defense portfolio.

He wasn’t the only one getting a new role as Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was also upgraded to become a Senior Minister.

Hishammuddin was tasked to head the Security Cluster, taking over from Ismail Sabri, besides assisting the Prime Minister in the execution of the National Recovery Plan.

Meanwhile, the DPM was supposed to help the Prime Minister in managing the administration of the country and fulfill the people’s needs.

With the resignation of the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri’s position in the Cabinet was automatically surrendered.

Ismail Sabri starts work as deputy PM | Malaysia | Malay Mail
Credit: Malay Mail

Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister

After Mahiaddin’s resignation, the race was on to determine who will be the next Prime Minister.

Initially, it was a three-horse race between Ismail Sabri, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Warisan President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal but the Semporna MP decided to give way to the Opposition leader – making it a straight fight between Anwar and Ismail Sabri.

To pick the next PM, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker called for MPs to submit Statutory Declarations (SDs) to Istana Negara by 4pm on 18 August.

The day after, the Agong then had a special session with 114 MPs who supported Ismail Sabri to confirm that their support for him was not forced.

It was later announced by the Istana Negara that the Bera MP would be sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister on 21 August, 2021, after the palace held a special discussion with the Malay Rulers on 20 August.

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Credit: Facebook/Ismail Sabri

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