Malaysia: Ismail for PM again? Some are not counting their chickens yet

  • Despite being endorsed by Umno’s top leadership, Ismail Sabri Yaakob is not guaranteed a second term as prime minister.
  • Umno supreme council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman explained that the party leadership had effectively selected a “poster boy” for its next election campaign.
  • However, he said that the same was done during the Johor election in Mar 22, in which Hasni Mohammad was publicly touted as BN’s menteri besar candidate, but someone else was appointed instead.
  • “If the decision was made in good faith, it may provide Ismail Sabri with an opportunity to become prime minister again. However, after the election, there might be people who will go here and there (lobbying) to be prime minister. This can happen, and I raised it just now during the meeting,” Tajuddin told reporters.
  • Similarly, veteran journalist Abdul Kadir Jasin said on Facebook that it was premature to speculate if Ismail Sabri would eventually get the job. “Don’t believe in it too much because we might see a repeat of Johor,” he wrote.
  • In Aug 21, Ismail Sabri made history by becoming the first prime minister from Umno while being the party vice-president.
  • The unwritten rule in Umno was that its president and deputy president will be the first and second choice for prime minister, respectively.
  • There have been precedents in Perlis (2018), Terengganu (2008) and Selangor (2014) in which a party or coalition’s nominee for menteri besar was not accepted by the palace, which then appointed someone else to the job instead.

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