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COMMENT | Appointing 'hide and seek' ex-PM a blunder by Ismail Sabri

COMMENT | Newly appointed Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is going to have to squirm out of the shadows of figures like his party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PM predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin if he is to avoid being just a stop-gap leader.

Thus appointing Muhyiddin as the National Recovery Council (NRC) chairperson with the status of minister can only be seen as a shocking blunder.

Muhyiddin, who was recently described by PKR elder Syed Husin Ali as just about the "worst prime minister" we have had, has already established a discredited reputation as an unelected leader who spent much of his premiership playing hide-and-seek from the voters, opposition and his own coalition dissenters who eventually brought down the government.

He assumed power through defections and backroom dealings that followed the Sheraton Move and spent much of his 17 months in power avoiding a confidence vote, even resorting to a much-criticised declaration of emergency that mainly served the purpose of suspending Parliament and allowing the executive to rule unchecked.

Muhyiddin’s stint as premier also ended in ignominy following a royal rebuke of one of his ministers, Takiyuddin Hassan, over the ending of that ill-conceived emergency and a revolt by his own coalition partner Umno which helped elevate Ismail Sabri to his top job.

He left behind a shattered economy that saw four successive quarters of negative growth and a failed attempt to contain the Covid-19 pandemic which has us ranked among the world’s highest daily Covid-19 cases per capita and careering towards 20,000 deaths.

To make matters worse, his administration was known among the people for its...

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