Saturday, August 28, 2021

Au revoir: Nazri Aziz to bow out of politics at term-end

Au revoir: Nazri Aziz to bow out of politics at term-end

Umno stalwart says time to step aside for future leaders, including new PM, to take over reins

Having joined the political arena at just 24 years old, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz is ready to retire after 43 years of service as he does not wish to ‘overstay’ his welcome. – The Vibes file pic, August 28, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – The curtain will finally fall on Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s career in politics as he will bid goodbye to the arena he has called home for more than 40 years once the current parliamentary term ends.

Announcing his retirement to The Vibes, the Padang Rengas MP said he believes the time is ripe for future leaders, like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, to take the reins from the current generation of politicians.

Nazri said he believes he has achieved all he could in his time in Umno, and with no political ambition for higher positions, feels it is only wise for him to quit now.

“I’m going to give up everything once the current term ends, including my position as Padang Rengas division chief. I will not contest in the coming Umno elections or in the general election,” he said in a phone interview.

“Even if the party leadership persuades me to contest, I will reject it. They keep saying the people (of Padang Rengas) want me, but this will never end.

I don’t wish to overstay my welcome. You never know, one day people might just wake up and get fed up with you. So, before that happens, I better pack up and go.”

Nazri said his decision to call it quits is also motivated by the fact that his personal mission to make an Umno member, and in particular, Ismail Sabri, the prime minister has been achieved.

The party maverick played a key role in elevating Ismail Sabri to the country’s top post.

He led a group of MPs against president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s faction prior to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation as prime minister. The movement was initially in support of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein before it pledged allegiance to Ismail Sabri.

“I’m absolutely happy, relieved and satisfied that Ismail Sabri is now the prime minister, and that my hard work paid off. As a leader myself, it is incumbent upon me to see that my party is strong,” said Nazri.

“Now that Umno is back in the prime minister’s position, I think the party has returned to the right track. I’m very happy about it. I believe Ismail Sabri can lead the party forward.”

With Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in the top office, Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz says he has no other political ambitions now that an Umno member is prime minister. – Bernama pic, August 28, 2021

Nazri joined politics in 1978 at just 24 years old, when he was elected as an Umno Youth executive committee member before going on to become Barisan Nasional Youth chief from 1990 to 1994.

He was also an Umno Supreme Council member for 18 years from 1990 to 2018, when the Umno-led BN government lost federal power to Pakatan Harapan.

That year, Nazri was appointed BN secretary-general, but he was removed less than a year later, after issuing comments that did not go down well with component parties MCA and MIC.

He has held a number of ministerial positions, being in charge of entrepreneur development (1999 to 2004), legal affairs (2004 to 2013), and tourism and culture (2013 to 2018).

Nazri also has a perfect record in the six general elections he ran in, winning every single time since his debut in Chenderoh in 1995. He defended the seat in 1999, and later won Padang Rengas (rebranded from Chenderoh) in 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018.

The outspoken lawmaker said his decision to leave politics at the end of the current term is not a difficult one, having contemplated it for almost a decade.

I’ve been trying to leave politics since 2013, but they (Umno) keep putting my name as a candidate in the polls. The 2018 election result, when BN lost power, it was a blessing in disguise for me.

“When I was no longer part of the government, I felt like it was a good thing, and I made up my mind to quit. Nineteen years as a minister, what else do I want? I have no more political ambitions,” he said, adding that it has been an honour to serve the people of Padang Rengas for more than two decades.

Asked if he has any regrets during his career, Nazri said: “No, no regrets at all. I’m very happy that I have served the nation to the best of my ability.” – The Vibes, August 28, 2021


kt notes:

There are some politicians like Nazri and Zahid who seem to be quite happy to be just lieutenants to Tai-Kor, never aspiring to be No 1. And Nazri performed well as a loyal Head-Kicker for Boss, wakakaka. He is frank, blunt and seemingly without fear nor favour. He openly described Mahathir as a racist and once chewed off someone who questioned his "I am a Malaysian First", retorting "So what!"

I have a certain fondness for Nazri and will miss him when he retires from politics in 2023. I attached here an old Malaysian Insider article from September 2013 about Nazri:


After 50 years, time to think as Malaysians first, says Nazri

[Malaysian Insider - Sept 12 , 2013 BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA]

Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz believes that his contributions to Malaysia pale in comparison to that of Datuk Nicol David or Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who both wield racquets in the country's name.

“I am nothing compared to Nicol’s contributions. She has done so much for Malaysia on the world stage,” the Umno veteran and Tourism and Culture Minister tells The Malaysian Insider. Yet the pride that he expresses towards the world squash champion and badminton ace is tempered with pain when he thinks of how some Malay-Muslims feel towards people like Nicol and Lim.

“When they go overseas they fight for Malaysia. Not for China or India. Yet when they comeback, there are people who say their community has got no place in this country. That is unacceptable,” he stresses with a shake of the head.

“For the first 50 years we can excuse ourselves for tolerating each other’s racial and religious differences. But now we have to start accepting that we are all different and think of ourselves as Malaysians first.”

This is the primary reason newsrooms across Malaysia, particularly in the English media like Nazri, who turns 59 this year. In a political party that is supposed to be the compass of the federal government but whose leaders often play and rely on the race card, Nazri is a symbol and a beacon. The English media relies on him to be a balm of rationality and tolerance whenever a fiery rash of extremism suddenly infect Umno members and the Malay supremacist fringe.

Nazri believes we should start thinking of ourselves as Malaysians first. Due to his seniority in Umno and a provocative stint as a law and parliament minister,he is seen as a symbol that all is not lost with Umno — as far as ethnic and religious relations are concerned. He is in fact, one of the few senior Umno leaders to have declared that he is “Malaysian first”. Yet as we sat down to interview him on what he thought about Malaysia turning 50, it became very apparent that this special quality of his does not bode well for Malaysia.

A Hobson’s choice

Nazri credits his upbringing and his father, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yeop, for his broad-minded views of other communities. 

His father’s last post was as Education Ministry permanent secretary in the then-British colonial administration. Nazri attended English-medium schools whose student population was multi-ethnic.Both father and son had many non-Malay friends.

He also stresses that his beliefs are not because he’s trying to appease his supporters at home. “People cannot say that I can afford to be liberal because my constituency is mixed. My constituency is in fact 76% Malay. And they are the rural, conservative Malays. But I am still liberal,” says Nazri.

It boils down to leadership he says, and a mountain of self-confidence (that he admits with a smile, have also gotten him into trouble).

“If you don’t have this then you run into your cocoon once there’s trouble. The Malays will run back to their Malay community, the Chinese and the Indians will run back to their communities.” It’s not been easy he says repeatedly throughout the interview, of the need to press on with the struggle to get Malaysians to think of themselves as Malaysians first.

“But we have no choice. We have no choice. We have to compromise and accept our differences. Whether you like it or not, you have to proceed. There’s no question of sending non-Malays back to wherever they came from.”

Since they were all born here?

“Yes. You can’t partition the country (into ethnic enclaves). This is our country together.”

Nazri’s choice

Nazri’s views on race match his belief in embracing the democratic process. Again, he is one of the few Umno leaders who has a healthy relationship with Pakatan Rakyat and non-Barisan Nasional parties.

MCA didn't like Nazri because he had frequently urged his party to enlist the DAP into BN to replace MCA, saying MCA was not performing whilst DAP was (is?), wakakaka.

“This is a democracy. You cannot say you cannot stand their presence and call them subversive or anti-Malaysian. They were also elected by the people. If I want them to respect me because I was elected by the people, I must also respect them.”

Which brings us to the difficult fact about Nazri — he is special because he is a rarity in Umno. But that rarity means that he and the other handful of Umno progressives are a fringe element in the party. His views are not mainstream. And it is the conservative, reactionary mainstream that is in control of the party and is able to steer the country by their position in the Barisan Nasional administration.

Nazri admits this and as a solution he presents ... Khairy Jamaluddin.

The 37-year-old Youth and Sports Minister, Nazri says will have to shoulder the difficult task of changing the present Melayu-first mindset in Umno into one that is Malaysian-first.

“I hope that Khairy one day becomes PM. He is rational, not extremist ... I share his values and he is fair to Malaysians regardless of race and religion.”

It’s a tricky solution since it puts the burden of change onto one man. Just like how Nazri has been relied on to be the bulwark against Malay-Muslim extremism.

“Yes he is one man.But he has the time. If he wins uncontested as Umno Youth chief I think he can set the course and bring Umno Youth members to his way of thinking.”

For in the face of stiff competition from Pakatan’s young leaders and their Malaysian-first agenda, an Umno progressive like Nazri has very little choice. He must put his hopes on another progressives like him if he wants to see Umno continue to be relevant.

“I believe (his and Khairy’s) values will prevail eventually. We have no choice but to go the same path. The other path is headed towards disaster.” — September 12, 2013.

Hakcipta © 2013 The Malaysian InsiderSource:

1 comment:

  1. Good riddance to a completely amoral , purely transactional UMNO operative.

    He stabbed many people in the back, along the way, including Anwar Ibrahim and DAP with his brand of completely unprincipled politics.

    If he stayed on in politics , he would have a bad ending, because there is a long line of people waiting to "pay" him back.