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And the tiara goes to... Izzy Yaakob!

Be The Crown, Izzy!

Heard the quote, “Smilers wear a crown, losers wear a frown“?

Well, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s definitely smiling.

Izzy, our Umno man, was given the golden ticket last Wednesday to become “Mr C̶o̶n̶g̶e̶n̶i̶a̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ Deputy Prime Minister 2021“.

We’re sure he left many frowns in his wake as he pranced up to accept his sash and tiara, though.

The surprise move by Still-PM-For-Now Muhyiddin Yassin saw Umno veep Izzy leapfrogging bigger names such as Foreign Minister Hishammuddin “Vapin'” Hussein and Azmin “Frog Prince” Ali to get one step closer to the glorious PM9 spot.

Just how did this come about?

It’s no secret that Moo’s premiership’s been on über shaky ground for months now. 

Umno’s been threatening to pull out of Perikatan Nasional for quite a while, which it kinda did, sorta, on Thursday before then kinda backtracking in the face of public fury.

Still sore about seeing Pakatan Harapan take the chequered flag in GE18, Umno’s made little attempt to hide its displeasure at having to play second fiddle to Moo’s party – fellow Sheraton Move co-conspirator and new-kid-on-the-block Bersatu.

After all, Umno MPs outnumber Bersatu in the Dewan Rakyat 38 to 32. BT-Dubs, you wanna know the party with the most number of seats in the House? That’d be DAP (42).

And despite holding 9 cabinet posts, including juicy portfolios like health, vaccinations, Covid-19 SOPs, and 8 deputy minister posts, poor widdle Umno, especially El Presidente Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, still feels hard done by. Oh brother, cry us a river!

Look, the concern’s not 100% unwarranted. Mahiaddin’s made sure his crew have an outsized amount of power in this coalition government. How outsized? Well, how about that every single one(!!) of the 32 Bersatu lawmakers holds some post, be it in the Executive, GLCs or gomen-linked bodies. 

Heck, only 1 of the 3 senior minister posts MooMoo created in the place of a DPM last year went to Umno – to Izzy Yaakob (security cluster). So it should come as no surprise that sulky, tantrum-y Umno’s long been eyeing that vacant DPM post.

Which is why handing it on a silver platter to Izzy Yaakob was a stroke of genius by Moodin ahead of that big face-to-face, more Covid-19-SOPs-be-damned Umno supreme council meeting. They do say you do your best thinking on the john.

In one fell swoop, Moo looked to placate Umno’s tender, slighted heart and at the same time drive a nice big wedge into the already splintering grand old dame of Malaysian politics. As it stands, the party’s divided between the pro-Muhyiddin/anti-“Court Cluster” and pro-Zahid factions.

And it seems to have worked. Poor ol’ Zahid. It didn’t take much time for him to make a bold, loud announcement after the Umno meet, swearing the party’ll pull support from Moo’s gomen immediately and demanding Moo resign. 

It took even less time for Zahid’s cunning plan to unravel.

And with all these shenanigans, it became instantly clear that more than Muhyiddin, Uncle Z’s the one who seems to have lost the support of his lawmakers. A chunk of em, especially the “Cabinet Cluster” like Izzy and Hisham, just don’t seem too keen to follow him out the PN door. 

Can’t blame them either, considering they’ve done pretty well for themselves. Izzy’s become DPM (and has there ever been a less-threatening DPM to an incumbent PM?), his old security cluster gig’s gone to rumoured PM9 hopeful Hisham – heck, even Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s done well; he’ll now oversee the Covid national recovery plan.

Officially though – at least according to Izzy – Zahid didn’t exactly get a resounding “Aye Aye, Cap’n’!” from his supreme council crew. Of course, Izzy insisted that’s ‘cos now ain’t the time for politicking, not when there’s a bloody pandemic curve to flatten. Yeah, we’re sure it was our health and welfare that you cared for, truly, madly, deeply.

Incidentally, while all this political rockin’ and rollin’, and shakin’ and bakin’ has been goin’ down, our Covid numbers have been goin’ up. Friday saw a heart-stopping 9,180 new cases being detected.

C’mon, be honest now. Did you really expect anything else?

Picture of Illustration by Fahmi Reza

Illustration by Fahmi Reza

Fahmi Reza is one of Malaysia's most iconic political graphic artists and activists. Using his wizardry with the pen and his wicked sense of humour, he calls out government and political incompetence and deceit through graphics and posters.

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