The petition demanding International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali’s resignation will not have an impact even if it garners half a million signatures, according to former minister Zaid Ibrahim.
First, he said Malaysian politicians would not step down due to pressure from the public because of their impaired moral compass.
On the same note, he opined that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin would not sack Azmin since his government is clinging to power with a razor-thin advantage in Parliament.
Furthermore, Zaid described Azmin as the “de facto deputy prime minister” of the administration.
“I appreciate the effort of citizens seeking Azmin’s removal for gross incompetence in managing the Covid-19 outbreak. But it will not move the PM to do anything.
“Azmin is the de facto deputy PM and together with (Home Minister) Hamzah Zainudin, are the pillars of strength to the PM although not to the people,” he told Malaysiakini.
In short, Zaid claimed that Azmin is not expendable like Umno lawmaker Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who was sacked as Prasarana Malaysia Bhd chairperson after courting the public’s wrath with his comments following the recent collision between two LRT trains.
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government stormed into power via a political coup in 2020 with Azmin, a former PKR leader, and his loyalists playing an instrumental role.
Their support is crucial for Muhyiddin, who has 112 MPs on his side, to remain in office.
Elaborating, Zaid, a former law minister who resigned after disagreeing with the government’s use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to detain three individuals in 2008, said the petition against Azmin can be interpreted as a petition against PN.
“That is not acceptable to Putrajaya.
“Another reason the PM will not act on the petition is that there are others who are not good enough to deal with the effects of Covid-19 as well.
“Finance, education and women’s affairs might be next. So, a precedent must not be started,” he added.
Azmin has been under fire for a large number of businesses – particularly those in the manufacturing sector – being allowed to continue operating during the total lockdown period.
Prior approval for alcoholic beverage companies to operate had also caused friction between him and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Another point of contention was the eleventh-hour change that required businesses from all sectors to seek International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) permission through the Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS 3.0) in order to operate.
Malaysiakini previously reported that some non-essential services were approved but essential sectors such as food and beverage outlets struggled with the unstable CIMS 3.0 website.
Yesterday, Azmin said he “noted” the complaints and clarified that Miti was not the sole arbiter of the approval system.
At the time of writing, more than 130,000 had signed the #AzminLetakJawatan petition. – Malaysiakini