Ismail Sabri sworn in as PM with many firsts

Ismail Sabri being sworn in at Istana Negara. Photo credit: RTM

By Chew Lip Song

DATUK Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister today, following a protracted political crisis that culminated in an uneasy truce among the warring parties.

He took his oath of office before Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara at 2.30pm in an event that was broadcasted live on television.

Dressed in a black baju Melayu and gold-embroidered samping, the Bera MP was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin, who was dressed in a light purple traditional baju kurung.

After taking his oath, Ismail signed the instruments of appointment witnessed by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

Ismail Sabri, a political dark horse and relative unknown internationally, has scored many firsts with his elevation as the PM at a time of unprecedented crises in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic, its knock-on effects on the economy and the political turmoil that has rocked this nation.

At 61, he is the first PM to be born after Merdeka in 1957. The Umno vice-president is also the first premier not to head a political party.

His elevation from Deputy PM to the highest office in the land is also the fastest, at only 46 days. Ismail Sabri was appointed DPM on July 6 by his predecessor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who earlier this week quit after losing majority support among MPs.

With his appointment, the Prime Ministership now returns to Umno, which had held the post uninterrupted since Independence until the 2018 general election when it was ousted by Pakatan Harapan.

Ismail Sabri has the support from 114 MPs among the 220 lawmakers in the Lower House. Analysts expect the newly-minted PM to be deferential to Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, ex-PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and the disparate political parties that hold the ruling Perikatan Nasional together.