One year on, analysts see PM Ismail Sabri quietly steering country in right direction

(MMO) – Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was an unexpected choice to succeed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, but political observers believe his appointment as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister last year is keeping the nation moving forward through economic and political crises both at home and globally.

As the first prime minister not to be the head of a political party, analysts contacted by Malay Mail said the Umno vice-president has so far managed to resist pressure from his own party to hold early national elections and even introduce certain key institutional reforms through a deal with the federal Opposition for the sake of government stability.

“That’s the good thing about him, he is kind of a stabiliser in terms of the head-on between Bersatu-Umno or Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the government,” said Azmi Hassan, a senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research.

“He’s the chosen prime minister because he was accepted by all, be it PN, BN or the Opposition,” he added, referring to the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional and Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalitions that have joint control of government.

Azmi said that the Memorandum of Understanding for Transformation and Political Stability with Pakatan Harapan was signed at all last September could be attributed to Ismail Sabri heading the government, even as he remarked that the unprecedented truce has not been smooth.

He also noted that under Ismail Sabri’s leadership, Malaysia has been able to keep inflation levels in check while still maintaining subsidies for fuel, compared to other nations that are struggling with rising energy costs.

“Ismail shows his caring side especially for those in need by increasing the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia aid and keeping the cooking oil and petrol subsidies around when other governments are not,” he added.