As Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali has been credited for making Selangor among the best performing states in Malaysia. During his leadership, Selangor has grown as the leading contributor in Malaysia’s GDP (around 22.7% of Malaysia GDP), with many of his state government’s initiatives in multiple industries were pointed out as the cause.
Simultaneously, the state government debt was significantly reduced from RM27.1 million in 2015 to RM14.7 million in 2016. Therefore, his performance as the Menteri Besar of Selangor plus his non-confrontational style may have caught Tun Mahathir’s attention.
After Pakatan Harapan victory in GE-14, Azmin was elected as the Minister of Economic Affairs. The ministry, which was newly formed after the general election, may be a move by Mahathir to prepare Azmin Ali to be his successor. Keeping tongue in cheek, this is just a rumour. Nevertheless, we tried to assess on Azmin moves.
In the case of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), Azmin supported Mahathir stance of abolishing the aid using the similar narrative prior to GE-14, labelling BR1M as “dedak”. Azmin is one of the top influencers of the topic “BR1M” for the past one-month period. The Economic Affairs Minister is the main supporter of Mahathir in abolishing BR1M with 269 statements, while the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng only gave out 122 statements.
Another instance of Azmin upfront support for Mahathir is regarding the allowances of Government Linked Companies (GLCs) top executives. On June 30, Tun Mahathir said that top executives in GLCs will no longer be paid with fat pay checks regardless of their companies’ performance. Subsequently, Azmin echoed Tun Mahathir’s statement, reiterating that GLCs top executives will not receive high salaries.