KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15): Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said he is clearly the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno candidate for prime minister if BN wins the 15th general election (GE15) and it should not have been raised as an issue at all.
Tracing the events that led to his nomination for the post, the ninth prime minister said the Umno supreme council (MT) had unanimously decided that he is their prime minister candidate, and this decision was then taken to the BN supreme council, where all component parties endorsed it.
“And the highest authority in the party is PAU (Umno General Assembly). And PAU has also unanimously decided on me as PM (prime minister),” said Ismail Sabri, who is an Umno vice-president.
According to him, at the recent Umno divisional delegates meetings, 156 of the 190 divisions which could hold their meetings adopted a resolution nominating him as the prime minister candidate.
“In terms of party, there is no issue of who the candidate is and the like. This is because all levels of the party have made a decision,” he said in the “Bual Bicara Khas Kestabilan & Kemakmuran Bersama Perdana Menteri” programme aired by Bernama TV and several local television stations tonight.
Ismail Sabri, who is defending the Bera parliamentary seat in GE15, said this to refute the narratives played up by certain parties, including the notion that ‘”one vote for a BN candidate is one vote for Umno president and BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi” to be the prime minister after GE15.
Ismail Sabri said this issue had been raised in an attempt to pit him against Ahmad Zahid.
He said apart from presidents of BN component parties, Ahmad Zahid himself had also stressed that “there is no change to the decision on Ismail Sabri as the PM candidate after GE15”.
“Any decisions announced, as long as they have not been reversed, will have to be followed,” said Ismail Sabri.
On his candidacy for the prime minister post, Ismail Sabri said he should be assessed on the basis of his achievements after taking over the administration, which came at a difficult time as Covid-19 cases were then high, the economy was not doing well and there was political instability in the country.
Ismail Sabri said his administration had successfully managed Covid-19 including the national vaccination programme, expanded the gross domestic product (GDP), reduced unemployment and restored political stability.
“Never before in the history of the country has the government sat down with the opposition to sign an MOU on a ‘ceasefire’ to stabilise the political situation in the country then,” he said.
His administration signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability with the opposition on September 13, 2021, which, apart from creating political stability, also led to the constitutional amendments on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) being unanimously passed in Parliament.
Apart from this, the Constitution (Amendment) Act (No.3) 2022 (Act A1663) which prohibits party-hopping by Members of Parliament (MPs) was also unanimously passed by the Dewan Rakyat on July 28 this year and the Senate on August 9.
“We had talked about party-hopping for a long time, (but) this Act had not been passed before. During my time, it went through smoothly, without objection from anyone. Finally, the country’s politics was stabilised,” he said.
“I had 14 months (to administer country) and was not removed. So, if I could solve various problems in just more than a year, try giving me five years. There are many more things I can do,” he said.
The prime minister candidates put forward by other coalitions for GE15 are Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. — Bernama