PETALING JAYA: Azmin Ali does not have the calibre to be a good deputy prime minister despite being said to be a frontrunner for the post – but his appointment would not be very surprising, says an analyst.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said Azmin’s stint as international trade and industry minister left much to be desired, and cited reports of a clash between him and Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was senior minister for security then.
“Remember when Ismail left an enigmatic social media note of having done his best, only to be overtaken by later decisions?
“Having said that, mediocrity breeds mediocrity. When you get a mediocre leader like Ismail as prime minister, do you expect him to want someone of a higher calibre than him to become his deputy?
“Doing that would undermine his premiership,” he told FMT.
Fauzi said Azmin’s appointment would also cause a rift in Bersatu, as he was a “frog” and lacked the “Malay nationalist DNA” that some of his party colleagues had.
He said there would be two kinds of responses from Umno to Azmin’s potential appointment, with more nation-minded leaders likely to be put off by his promotion.
“Having betrayed Pakatan Harapan, what makes you think he wouldn’t do the same to this government?
“But the politically-oriented Umno leaders will be content that someone of mediocre capability like Azmin is appointed as deputy prime minister, as he and Perikatan Nasional will never then be able to overshadow Ismail at the national level.
“They’ll be seeking to retain the premiership for Umno, whatever happens. It is from the prime minister’s post that patronage flows.”
Academic Azmi Hassan said Azmin had the edge over the likes of Hamzah Zainudin and Ahmad Faizal Azumu as these two figures were not liked by Umno, especially the former who deserted the party after the 2018 polls.
He told FMT that Azmin was “more acceptable” for Umno, although he personally believed that whoever helmed the post mattered little.
“I still believe the position shouldn’t be created because it doesn’t add any value. The post will just create more turmoil,” he said.
A Bersatu source told FMT today that Azmin was the frontrunner for the post and likely had more support than Hamzah since he brought nine MPs into the party with him. Those nine votes could also be used as a threat to topple the new government unless the position is given to Azmin, another source said.
“After listening to all (the) parties, the prime minister is said to be agreeable to the decision. As of now, Azmin’s name is still the one picked for future deputy prime minister,” the source said.
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