Malaysian observers and politicians say the Singapore-born Azmin, 53, is widely seen as one of the most promising politicians in the opposition ranks and a potential prime ministerial candidate, having been in politics for over 30 years.
The Rise Of Azmin Ali
When Azmin married in 1988, Mahathir attended the wedding ceremony and blessed the couple even though Azmin was already the secretary to Anwar. On Dec 13, 2015, Mahathir was also invited to the marriage ceremony of Azmin’s elder daughter. The guests included the Sultans of Johor and Selangor and Muhyiddin. It implied that Azmin had been regarded favourably as a national leader . There is rumor that Azmin is the god-son of Mahathir and Mahathir is his god-father. But what is indisputable is that their relationship has been good all the time.
Azmin was no more a small fry. He was a political leader with substantial influence. Because he had not left PKR, he contested for the deputy president’s seat when Chandra Muzzafar and Syed Hussein Ali left the posts. His rival was Zaid Ibrahim who was once a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. With his victory, his has been on the rise in the party.
Even though Azmin and Khalid had not been quite agreeable with each other, Azmin remained as an EXCO member. However, in his heart, he was never comfortable with Khalid’s leadership. He had asked Anwar to replace Khalid but Anwar found it difficult to do so as he could not promote Azmin in such a short time. Nevertheless, in the party election, Azmin held on to his No 2 seat even when challenged by Khalid. In private, Anwar engineered the resignation of the Kajang state assembly and launched the Kajang Movement so that he (Anwar) could contest in the by-election and become the Menteri Besar.
However, what man propose, god dispose. Anwar was jailed before the nomination day on sodomy charges and was disqualified. He was replaced by his wife Wan Azizah. She was elected but Anwar never expected the move to make his wife the Menteri Besar to meet with so many obstacles. First PAS objected and then the Sultan disagreed, resulting in the rise of Azmin quite unexpectedly.
With his appointment as the Menteri Besar, Azmin’s power in the party was further strengthened. His responsibility was even heavier with Anwar being imprisoned.
The second instance was the launch of the Citizens’ Declaration by Mahathir in May 2016 to oust Najib. Azmin represented PKR and sat alongside Mahathir which was an indication of his enhanced status. Azmin enjoys a unique position as Mahathir’s liaison man and is pivotal to the formation of a HARAPAN alliance.
Azmin Ali Successfully Come Out of Anwar Ibrahim Shadow
Azmin Ali has proven to be a capable administrator, emerging from the large shadow of Anwar whom he first served as special officer in 1987 and later as his private secretary.
“He has come out of Anwar’s shadow to be his own man – partly out of necessity. He has had to stand up to challenges by other aspirants from within his party,” said Kadir Jasin, supreme council member of Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).
Some observers believe Anwar remains Mr Azmin’s his biggest obstacle to higher political ambitions as the former remains popular among both Malays and non-Malay voters.
“As long as he (Anwar) remains politically active in opposition politics, Azmin will find it hard to step out of his shadow and realise greater political ambition,” said RSIS’ Mr Rashaad.
His Performance As Former Selangor Chief Minister Shows He’s A Capable Leader and Administrator
If you take a look around Selangor, the richest state in Malaysia, you will see the effects of Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s leadership. As a first term Chief Minister of Selangor, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali has been credited with making Selangor among the best performing states in Malaysia. Since he took over, Selangor has grown as the leading contributor to Malaysia’s GDP, with many of his government’s initiatives in multiple industries being pointed out as the cause.
It is easy to see why Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s meteoric rise in politics is inevitable. US-educated with a never-say-die attitude, The Star back in 2010 noted Azmin’s “impeccable understanding of timing in politics,” something very few politicians are able to discern. This, coupled with his impressive intellect and persuasive style of argument made Dr Mahathir Mohamad handpick him at the tender age of 23 in the mid-1980s to be Anwar Ibrahim’s Special Officer while Anwar served as Minister of Education. The position not only cemented his loyalty to Anwar Ibrahim, it also established his reputation as a dynamic and progressive leader.
Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s commitment towards improving the lives and welfare of all citizens in Selangor irrespective of race and religion reflected his dynamic and progressive style of leadership.
A Leader For All
His continued support of the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities in Selangor through various Smart Selangor Initiatives is a testament to his administrations’ belief that racial and religious diversity forms the bedrock of Selangor’s unique cultural identity.
PKR vice president Chua Tian Chang, who has known Mr Azmin since 1998, said the latter played a key role in keeping the party together in the immediate years after Anwar was first jailed.
Mr Chua also said unlike other politicians, Mr Azmin is a conscientious leader who prefers to let his work showed for itself. This was reflected in his low media profile where he hardly give media interviews, including to TODAY, despite numerous requests in recent months.
“He may not be as charismatic as Anwar but this is one of his strengths because sometimes, you need a person who can translate policies into actions,” said Mr Chua, popularly known as Tian Chua. “He is a doer and not a talker. He prefers to work and let the results speak for themselves.”
Mr Teng Chang Khim, the vice-chairman of the Selangor DAP, described Mr Azmin as “cool-headed” and “capable” leader who is keenly interested in the affairs of the state and learns fast.
Mr Teng — who has worked under Mr Azmin for three years as a state minister — said Selangor has attracted billions in foreign investments.
It is clear that he is widely seen as one of the most promising politicians in the Pakatan Harapan ranks as well as a potential prime ministerial candidate. His success as the Chief Minister in the country’s richest state indicates that he has the mettle for greater responsibilities in the future.
Azmin Is Also Seen As Having Prime Ministerial Chops
“I think Azmin is the future of PKR and has a real potential to become a prime minister-designate,” said Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, an analyst with BowerGroupAsia risk consultancy.
In January 2018, Malaysians chose Azmin and Mahathir’s son Mukhriz Mahathir for the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister should the opposition win the general election in a Facebook poll by news portal The Malaysian Insight. Of the 1,100 respondents, 588, or 54 per cent, picked the two younger politicians
“Azmin is a reasonable candidate for Prime Minister , said Mr Rashaad Ali, a research analyst at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies’ (RSIS) Malaysia Programme
Selangorku.com posted a story extolling Azmin’s credentials quoting political analyst Dr Maszlee Malik ( current Malaysia Education Minister ) who said that the Pakatan Rakyat pact should choose a young and energetic leader to fill the post.
“Azmin has proven himself as the Mentri Besar. He’s PKR’s (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) second leader, he should be put forward as the first leader.” – Link
PH Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said by having Azmin and Mukhriz as candidates, the pact could introduce a “refreshing” take on the country’s politics, and would be able to attract young voters.
Zuraida, who is also PKR Wanita chief, said Azmin had long been involved in reforms since 1998, and had a good record as Selangor menteri besar.
Azmin Ali Have To Be The Leader Not Just For PKR But Also Pakatan Harapan
This burden of keeping everything together, Wan Saiful said, will be PKR deputy president Mohamad Azmin Ali’s to bear.
“PKR’s future will depend on him. He will have to become a leader not just for PKR but also Pakatan,” he said.
Wan Saiful said the Gombak MP could be the bridge that unites PR, similar to the role played by Anwar. To do that successfully, Azmin may need a different style and approach.
PKR Youth said it was likely Azmin would have an enlarged role in a party without Anwar.
“PKR’s future without Anwar lies with Azmin, he will have to bear the responsibility of leading the party, and possibly the coalition,” said the party’s Youth vice-chief Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin.
Azmin Ali Playing Bigger Role In New Harapan Malaysia
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is entrusting deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Datuk Seri Azmin Ali with wide powers over the economy
Sources told The Straits Times that Azmin, as Minister of Economic Affairs, will oversee Malaysia’s biggest companies, including state oil giant Petronas, sovereign wealth fund Khazanah and savings manager Perbadanan Nasional Berhad, which are collectively worth more than RM1tril.
Crucial agencies that guard the welfare of the Malay-Muslim majority such as the Federal Land Development Authority, pilgrimage fund Tabung Haji and a swathe of units and departments that help Malay entrepreneurs will also be placed under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA).