Ismail Sabri Yaakob
Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob (Jawi: اسماعيل صبري بن يعقوب; born 18 January 1960) is a Malaysian politician serving as Leader of the Opposition since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bera since 2004. He is a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a major party in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob
اسماعيل صبري بن يعقوب
|12th Leader of the Opposition|
|Assumed office |
11 March 2019
|Prime Minister||Mahathir Mohamad|
|Preceded by||Ahmad Zahid Hamidi|
|Deputy President of the |
United Malays National Organisation
|Assumed office |
11 March 2019
|President||Mohamad Hasan (Acting)|
|Preceded by||Mohamad Hasan|
|Minister of Rural and Regional Development|
29 July 2015 – 10 May 2018
|Prime Minister||Najib Razak|
|Deputy||Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub|
|Preceded by||Shafie Apdal|
|Succeeded by||Rina Harun|
|Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry|
16 May 2013 – 29 July 2015
|Prime Minister||Najib Razak|
|Deputy||Tajuddin Abdul Rahman|
|Preceded by||Noh Omar|
|Succeeded by||Ahmad Shabery Cheek|
|Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism|
10 April 2009 – 5 May 2013
|Prime Minister||Najib Razak|
|Deputy||Tan Lian Hoe|
Rohani Abdul Karim
|Preceded by||Shahrir Samad|
|Succeeded by||Hasan Malek|
|Minister of Youth and Sports|
18 March 2008 – 9 April 2009
|Prime Minister||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
|Deputy||Wee Jeck Seng|
|Preceded by||Azalina Othman|
|Succeeded by||Ahmad Shabery Cheek|
|Member of the Malaysian Parliament|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob
18 January 1960
Temerloh, Pahang, Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia)
|Political party||United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)|
|Barisan Nasional (BN)|
|Spouse(s)||Muhaini Zainal Abidin|
|Alma mater||University of Malaya|
Ismail Sabri started his schooling at Sekolah Kebangsaan Bangau in 1967. He then continued his education at Sekolah Menengah Air Putih, Kuantan in 1973 and Sekolah Menengah Teknik Kuantan, Pahang in 1976. He then studied form six at Jaya Akademik and continued his studies at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya in 1980.
He started his career in 1985 as a lawyer. He was appointed as Member of Temerloh District Council in 1987 and Member of the Temerloh Municipal Council in 1996. In 1995, he was appointed Political Secretary to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik. He also was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pahang Tenggara Board (DARA) in 1995 as well as the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board in the same year. Before entering Parliament in 2004, Ismail Sabri served as Chairman of the National Sports Complex.
In 1987, he was appointed Member of the Temerloh Umno division committee. Then, in 1988, he was appointed as Temerloh UMNO Division Information Chief. In 1993, he was promoted to Head of Division Youth Movement, Deputy Head of Division (2001) and became Head of Temerloh UMNO Division in 2004.
Ismail Sabri was elected to Parliament in the 2004 election, becoming the first member of the new seat of Bera. He was re-elected in 2008 election, and was appointed in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi as Minister for Youth and Sports (2008-2009). In April 2009, under new Prime Minister Najib Razak he became the Minister for Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (2009-2013). After the 2013 election, in which he retained his parliamentary seat, he was appointed as the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry (2013–2015). He served as Federal Minister of Rural and Regional Development (2015-2018).
On December 20, 2018, he was appointed to carry out his duties as the new UMNO Deputy President after his incumbent was elected President (de facto) from 18 December 2018. He was appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament since 2019.
In 2015, Ismail Sabri sparked a firestorm of protest over his Facebook post urging Malay consumers to boycott the monopolising and profiteering Chinese businesses who discriminate non-Chinese entrepreneurs, arguing that it was necessary for Malays to exercise consumer power to prevent "profiteering" by the Malaysia's ethnic Chinese that control over 90% of Malaysian economies. In reply, political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs think tank, said in personal capacity that any Malaysian voter regardless of race, would be repelled by Ismail's comments. “I think the reaction of any right-minded Malay or Chinese who believes in Malaysian unity would be of disgust. “And I think, or at least hope, that the Chinese voters will remember what he said when it comes to the vote”. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar stated that the minister would be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and Ismail Sabri has since deleted the Facebook post.
Low Yat 2
In 2015, Ismail Sabri once again provoked controversy when he proposed to set up "Low Yat 2", a digital gadget mall expected to house solely Malay traders. Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a component party of Barisan Nasional, criticised the proposal. MCA publicity bureau chairman Datuk Chai Kim Sen labelled Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob as a regressive Cabinet Minister for his proposal. MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the setting up of Low Yat 2 would only hurt racial relations, and described the proposal for the bumiputra-only mall as an “antagonistic approach”. MCA public services and complaints bureau advised Ismail Sabri to approach issues from a multi-racial viewpoint and stop making ridiculous statements such as “Chinese traders are profiteers” and “a Malay-only Low Yat 2” and said that “We are appalled at Ismail Sabri’s attempt to apply his race-centric thoughts onto the issue of Chinese schools and to accuse others of being racist. His thinking is completely illogical, and this mentality of his must be discarded at once in order to become a true minister for all races”. Fellow UMNO member Saifuddin Abdullah also criticised the proposal, saying that Ismail Sabri’s proposal would not be beneficial to Malays and Malaysians in general, pointing out that having business areas where traders are separated by ethnicity will only backfire.
Many Malay netizens also criticised the proposal, with many mocking the concept of Low Yat 2. Two Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), a Barisan Nasional component party, Youth leaders later lodged a police report Ismail Sabri, claiming his speech on ‘Low Yat Plaza 2 for Malay traders’ on Tuesday was seditious. The ministers also demanded the state authorities bar him from entering Sarawak. SUPP Youth central publicity and information secretary Milton Foo said that “He is not fit to be a minister after making several racist remarks in nature. After his ‘boycott of Chinese merchants’ remark in February, now again he did it. Obviously, he is not repentful". On 8 December 2015, Ismail Sabri officiates the opening of all-Malay MARA Digital Mall at Medan Mara, Kuala Lumpur. Although the traders are all Malay, Ismail calls on the minorities to support the mall.
Taylor's University sponsorship cancellation
On 16 September, Taylor's University bus service contractor Wawasan Sutera used vehicles bearing the university’s logo to ferry passengers to the 916 red shirt racial rally without its permission. Two days later, Taylor's University announced that they would terminate the contract with Wawasan Sutera. Subsequently, Ismail Sabri announced that Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) would terminate the sponsorship for the next intake of students to Taylor’s University, in what was seen as a tit for tat exchange. He did not name the reasons behind the revocation. Social media was abuzz when a screenshot of a statement allegedly made by him went viral, ordering the Mara director-general to terminate the sponsorship of its students with immediate effect.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) MP Teresa Kok criticised the decision, calling it a "personal vendetta and abuse of power", and called for the cabinet to censure Ismail Sabri, as well as challenging him to publicly reveal the reasons for the decision, as well as publish the internal report which led to the decision. MCA Publicity Bureau Chairman Senator Chai Kim Sen said the minister’s inability to state even one reason for this decision was not only “unbecoming” but “even childish”. Saying that Ismail Sabri was infamous for his racist remarks when he called for the boycott of Chinese businesses, MCA’s Chai said his latest announcement about Mara would only “further weaken his already-tarred reputation as a racist”. He further condemned the minister for working against the government’s aspirations of producing 160,000 foreign students by 2020 and added, “Education institutes are expected to remain apolitical.
Turtle eggs issue
On 4 November 2015, a photograph of Ismail Sabri having dinner at a seafood restaurant in Sandakan together with Beluran Umno chief Datuk James Ratib went viral. A plate of a dozen of turtle eggs on the dinner table was seen in the photo. Ismail denied consuming the turtle eggs, citing "health reasons". On 9 November 2015, Ismail claims that he was not aware of the law that prohibits the possession and consumption of turtle eggs in Sabah, which is one of the protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. On 19 November 2015, another photos surfaced and went viral on Facebook showing fragments of turtle eggshells on the table in front of some of the diners. Following the issues, various non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and research organisation of Sabah urge Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to take action against the guests of the dinner as well as the restaurant that served the eggs. According to Ismail Sabri, he has directed his lawyers to take legal actions against parties who accused him of consuming the turtle eggs, of which three of the lawsuits were directed to Daily Express newspaper for publishing three allegation articles on him consuming protected turtle eggs which he claimed "the articles suggested he was evading responsibility, had no respect for the Wildlife Conservation Enactment and showed disregard towards the investigation process". His judicial review bid were however dismissed by the high court in Sabah with Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru said the case had been filed in the High Court of Malaya and the jurisdiction of the Kota Kinabalu High Court was limited to cases registered in the state, while the recent decision to transfer the lawsuits to Kuala Lumpur court were seen as against the Malaysia Agreement where Malayan Court had no power to transfer the case under their court authority as enshrined under Article 145(3A) of the Federal Constitution to determine "which court a case shall be transferred must necessarily be subject to the limitation that it can only transfer a case to a court which has the jurisdiction to hear the case". DAP leader Lim Kit Siang also agree the case should only be heard in Sabah court rather than need to be transferred to Kuala Lumpur. On 6 September, the suit was dropped by Ismail without need to go through trial after the matter have been resolved amicablly through a case management between him and the newspaper.
On 9 November 2015, Ismail Sabri stated that he supports the vaping industry in Malaysia. He says that the Malay-dominated industry is a success story for bumiputera entrepreneurism despite health warnings by the Malaysian Health Ministry. He has gone further in hoping that the unregulated industry can expand globally. Many prominent doctors and physicians have publicly chided Ismail Sabri's support for the industry, including the Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Ismail, who publicly decreed that all vape outlets must be shut down by 1 January 2016.
2018 pre-general election comment
On 13 April 2018, Ismail Sabri again provoked a controversy when he said "Every vote for the DAP is akin to giving power to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact to eliminate the purported Malay “special rights” and the “uniqueness” of Islam" as was reported by the Malay language-newspaper Utusan Malaysia. This was subsequently responded by Kit Siang, who said that Ismail Sabri seemed "to be attempting to frame the coming general election as a battle between the Malays and Chinese as well as between Islam and its enemies", and asked if Ismail Sabri and the UMNO-owned newspaper of Utusan Malaysia would be charged under the government's recently passed "Anti-Fake News Act 2018" for the provocative comments. Kit Siang also explained that Pakatan Harapan's basic documents, including its election manifesto, had been clear and specific in giving unconditional support to Article 153 on Malay special rights and Article 3 on Islam as the official religion of the Federation, also saying that although the DAP or other races party managed to form a new government in the country if winning the election, the Malays will never perish since the overwhelming majority of Malaysian voters are still Malays and the overwhelming majority of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies in the country are Malay voter-majority constituencies.
|2004||Ismail Sabri Yaakob (UMNO)||16,714||53.75%||Abd Wahab Ismail (PAS)||12,244||39.37%||31,096||4,982||76.53%|
|2008||Ismail Sabri Yaakob (UMNO)||18,051||54.50%||Mazlan Aliman (PAS)||14,230||42.96%||33,123||4,313||77.04%|
|2013||Ismail Sabri Yaakob (UMNO)||21,669||50.46%||Zakaria Abdul Hamid (PKR)||19,526||45.47%||42,944||2,143||84.21%|
|Mohd Wali Ahmad (IND)||670||1.56%|
|2018||Ismail Sabri Yaakob (UMNO)||20,760||43.89%||Zakaria Abdul Hamid (PKR)||18,449||39.00%||48,339||2,311||82.33%|
|Musaniff Ab Rahman (PAS)||8,096||17.11%|
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Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
| Leader of the Opposition
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