Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah has named Ismail Sabri Yaakob because the new prime minister, the palace said during a Friday statement.
Ismail are going to be Malaysia’s third prime minister in three years. He are going to be sworn in on Saturday after receiving the support of 114 members of parliament, the palace said. That’s quite the 111 required for an easy majority.
Ismail’s predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin resigned on Monday after a touch over 17 months in power. Muhyiddin had lost majority support in parliament thanks to infighting within his ruling political coalition.
The appointment of Ismail, who was deputy prime minister under Muhyiddin, would essentially keep the ruling coalition intact.
But his ascent means the country’s longest-governing party — the United Malaysia National Organisation or UMNO — has reclaimed Malaysia’s premiership after a shocking loss in 2018.
Malaysian markets seem to agree that PM Muhyiddin Yassin ‘had to go’: Professor
UMNO was the dominant party during a coalition that ruled Malaysia for over 60 years, but it lost power within the 2018 general elections thanks to a financial scandal involving state fund 1MDB.
The party returned to power in 2020 after the sudden resignation of then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, which allowed Muhyiddin to make the present ruling coalition. Muhyiddin said during a Thursday statement that lawmakers within the coalition who aren’t from UMNO would support Ismail because the new prime minister, on condition that the new cabinet doesn’t include anyone with court charges.
Several UMNO lawmakers, including party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former Prime Minister Najib Razak, currently face corruption charges. Both Zahid and Najib have denied wrongdoing.
‘Recipe for instability’
Before the appointment of Malaysia’s new prime minister, political analysts said Ismail would be a poor choice thanks to his association with the Muhyiddin government — which was widely criticized for mishandling the country’s worsening Covid-19 outbreak.
Ismail’s appointment won’t end the political uncertainty that Malaysia has faced since the 2018 elections, said analysts.
Impact of Malaysia’s political noise for investors is pretty limited: Eurasia Group
The political situation in Malaysia may be a “recipe for instability,” Peter Mumford, practice head for Southeast and South Asia in danger consultancy Eurasia Group, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Tuesday.
Malaysia has many political parties and none hold quite 20% of parliamentary seats, while politicians don’t differ much in their economic ideology as politics is usually driven by race and religion, explained Mumford.
In addition, politicians aren’t loyal to their parties and are “quite happy” to modify parties, he said.
“One of the key answers of this political mess is for an additional round of general elections, then then negotiations on who might be subsequent prime minister. And if those elections end in a celebration or a coalition having a transparent majority, then there’ll be more of a stable government,” said Mumford.