Ismail Sabri sworn in as Malaysia's ninth Prime Minister

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reading the instrument of appointment as Malaysia’s ninth Prime Minister a ceremony at Istana Negara on Aug 21, 2021. – Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been sworn in as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The Bera MP took his oath of office before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Negara here on Saturday (Aug 21).

Ismail, 61, attired in a black baju Melayu and gold-embroidered samping, 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 which was then attested by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah also graced the swearing-in ceremony held at Balai Singgahsana Kecil (Minor Throne Room) at 2.30pm.

Both the King and Queen were dressed in pastel-coloured traditional attire.

Also present were former prime ministers Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Among the political leaders present were Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as well as both Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat Speakers.

Federal Territory Mufti Datuk Dr Luqman Abdullah recited the doa (prayer).

This comes after Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that the King had decreed the appointment of Ismail Sabri as the ninth Prime Minister, following a special meeting involving Malay Rulers on Friday (Aug 20) afternoon.

"In line with Article 40(2)(a) and Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty has decreed to appoint Ismail Sabri as the ninth Prime Minister," said Ahmad Fadil in a statement on Friday.

Ahmad Fadil said the King chaired a special meeting with Malay Rulers that began at 2.30pm at Istana Negara and lasted for two-and-a-half hours on Friday (Aug 20).

During the meeting, the King consented to the process of the appointment of a new prime minister, following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's resignation on Monday (Aug 16).

Ahmad Fadil said this follows after the King had an audience with the heads of major political parties on Tuesday (Aug 17), where 220 MPs were told to name their choice of prime minister in form of statutory declarations (SD).

"The appointment of the next prime minister through these SDs was to assist His Majesty in making a decision to appoint an MP, whom His Majesty believes to have the support of a majority of MPs to be the next prime minister, as provided under Article 43(2)(a) of the Constitution."

He said Istana Negara received the SDs signed by MPs on Wednesday (Aug 18) and 114 MPs named Ismail Sabri as the prime minister.

"Following that, His Majesty granted audiences to the 114 MPs on Thursday (Aug 19) to verify their confidence towards the MP whom they nominated as prime minister," he said.

Ahmad Fadil said His Majesty said that the new government headed by Ismail Sabri must continue efforts to combat Covid-19, as the people and the nation are badly affected by the ongoing pandemic.

"His Majesty is expressing hope that with the appointment of the new prime minister, the political impasse can be immediately ended and all MPs can set aside their political agendas by uniting and cooperating to address the Covid-19 pandemic for the people and the country."

On Monday (Aug 16), Muhyiddin announced his decision to resign as prime minister, saying it was in accordance with the Federal Constitution as he no longer commanded majority support of the Dewan Rakyat.

He had served as prime minister for 17 months under the Perikatan Nasional government, which took over from the previous Pakatan Harapan administration in March 2020.

The 114 MPs who supported Ismail Sabri as prime minister consists of 41 MPs from Barisan Nasional, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (31), PAS (18), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (18), Sabah STAR (one), Parti Bersatu Sabah (one) and four independent MPs.

It is understood that Umno's Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah abstained from stating his choice.

Prior to this, Ismail Sabri was appointed as deputy prime minister by former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on July 7.

He was also one of four senior ministers in the previous Perikatan Cabinet, holding the Defence Ministry portfolio.

The other three senior ministers were Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin.

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