Ismail Sabri Yaakob today called on all quarters to put aside their political loyalties, and offered to work together with the opposition in the country’s exit route from the pandemic under the National Recovery Plan.
In his maiden speech as prime minister, Ismail also thanked Muhyiddin Yassin and other MPs who had backed him for the top post.
“I would also like to express my utmost appreciation and gratitude to Muhyiddin Yassin, the former prime minister who did his very best in facing numerous challenges along with the Cabinet members of Perikatan National (PN).
“Once again, I thank you,” Ismail said in his address to the nation.
Using the phrase “Malaysian Family” to address the public, Ismail also said he empathised with the people in their struggle to weather the pandemic.
“I understand the hardship of having to struggle for even a mouthful of rice since I was brought up in a poor farmer’s family.
“I solemnly understand the difficulties that the people face during this economic crisis brought about by the pandemic,” he said.
He said the common enemy of the “Malaysian Family” was the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the recent power vacuum and the change in government should be a thing of the past.
“Indeed, such swift changes of government within a short period of time can only be construed as detrimental to the people and country.
“Thus, let us move forward. We must stamp out this grab for political power. Let us as one big family comprising civil servants, private sector workers, and those self-employed work in repairing, healing and restoring our nation,” he said.
Ismail came to power on the back of support from Muhyiddin’s 50-strong PN bloc, as well as from GPS and several independents.
Muhyiddin resigned last Monday following the move by about a dozen MPs aligned with former leader Najib Razak to revoke their support for the PN government, resulting in a loss of his fragile majority.
Ismail said the political turmoil had “distressed the public”, adding that it could be overcome through cross-party cooperation.
“Therefore, I would like to offer the opportunity to the leadership of the opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19.”