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3:39pm 09/12/2022
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I accept the appointment as I can continue to serve, says Tengku Zafrul

PETALING JAYA: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz says he agrees to accept the appointment by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim so he can continue to serve.

“What can I say? This is the Prime Minister’s decision,” said Tengku Zafrul when asked whether his appointment was due to his relationship with the palace.

Tengku Zafrul said when he received a call from former Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to appoint him as the finance minister, he quit the banking sector to serve the country.

“When I received a call from Prime Minister Anwar and he informed me that he would appoint me as the International Trade and Industry Minister, I agreed to the appointment because I can continue to serve,” said Tengku Zafrul.

He had thought that he would be the finance minister for three years as he was appointed as senator and the tenure of a senator is three years.

Then the election is around the corner.

Tengku Zafrul was fielded on a Barisan Nasional ticket to contest in Kuala Selangor in the 15th general election but lost to the incumbent Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Tengku Zafrul has been criticized for joining the cabinet despite his defeat in the election while Dr Dzulkefly is not in the cabinet.

Anwar is the third prime minister to have named him in the cabinet, after Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He is now the only minister in the cabinet who has served three different prime ministers.

Political artist Fahmi Reza paints Tengku Zafrul as the only minister who remains in the cabinet line-up when Malaysia changes three prime ministers in three years.

On the reason he was not appointed as finance minister, Tengku Zafrul said he dared not ask Anwar or he will be the MITI minister with the shortest tenure.

Tengku Zafrul is into his second term, which is also the last term, as a senator.

On what is next for him when his senatorship expires in December 2025, Tengku Zafrul said he would need to find a new job.

Prior to his government appointment, Tengku Zafrul was the group chief executive officer and executive director of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd.

The former banker embarked on his ministerial journey on March 9, 2020, when he was appointed finance minister in Muhyiddin’s cabinet, and was reappointed to same post on August 27, 2021, by Ismail Sabri.

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Anwar Ibrahim
Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz

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