Asia Malaysia Who is Ismail Sabri Yaakob? A look at UMNO vice-president, now frontrunner...

Who is Ismail Sabri Yaakob? A look at UMNO vice-president, now frontrunner for Malaysia’s premiership

Last month, Mr Muhyiddin appointed Datuk Seri Ismail as Deputy Prime Minister, a position he occupied for 40 days, the shortest in Malaysia’s history, even as he kept his position as Defence Minister.

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Malaysia — Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob has emerged as next in line to be Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, with Mr Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation last Monday (Aug 16).

Mr Muhyiddin, however, is staying on as caretaker premier until his successor is named.

Late on Tuesday night, the 38 legislators from UMNO voiced their support for Datuk Seri Ismail, who had served as Deputy Prime Minister under Mr Muhyiddin and had been the former administration’s main spokesman on Covid-19 matters that did not pertain to health issues.

Support for the UMNO vice president was confirmed by the party’s secretary-general, Mr Ahmad Maslan, who tweeted, “only one name will be sent as Prime Minister nominee by Umno-BN MPs that is Ismail Sabri”.

It had been reported earlier that Datuk Seri Ismail and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been in close contention for the premiership, with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president being backed by over 100 lawmakers, the majority of which were from PH, but falling short of the 111 he needed.

Who is Ismail Sabri Yaakob?

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Born in 1960, the 61-year-old Datuk Seri Ismail worked as a lawyer before entering Parliament in 2004.

However, he was appointed as the Political Secretary to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism in 1995 and served on the Temerloh District Council in 1987 and the Temerloh Municipal Council in 1996.

Before he became a legislator, he was the Chair of the National Sports Complex.

From 2008 onward Datuk Seri Ismail occupied several cabinet posts, starting from Minister for Youth and Sports (2008-2009), Minister for Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (2009-2013), Minister for Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry (2013–2015), and Federal Minister of Rural and Regional Development (2015-2018).

At the end of 2018, he was appointed UMNO Deputy President and served as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament from 2019 to 2020.

Under Prime Minister Muhyiddin, he was appointed as Senior Minister and Minister of Defence.

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Last month, Mr Muhyiddin appointed Datuk Seri Ismail as Deputy Prime Minister, a position he occupied for 40 days, the shortest in Malaysia’s history, even as he kept his position as Defence Minister. /TISG

Read also: Malaysia’s PM Muhyiddin resigns

Malaysia’s PM Muhyiddin resigns

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