Mohamed Azmin Ali is a Malaysian politician who has served as Senior Minister in charge of International Trade and Industry and Minister of International Trade and Industry under Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob since August 2021.
He served his first term in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration under former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin from March 2020 to August 2021. He has also served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Gombak and Member of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Bukit Antarabangsa since March 2008. He also served as Senior Minister in charge of Economy in the PN administration under Muhyiddin from March 2020 to August 2021, Minister of Economic Affairs in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from May 2018 to the collapse of the PH administration in February 2020 and Menteri Besar of Selangor from September 2014 to June 2018. He is a member of the Supreme Council and Chairman of the International Bureau of the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (BERSATU), a component party of the ruling PN coalition. He is a founding member, was a member and served as Deputy President of the People's Justice Party (PKR), a component party of the PH opposition coalition, from November 2010 to his resignation from party in February 2020 with several other MPs and its Vice-President from November 2001 to his promotion to Deputy President in November 2010. He is also former President of the Football Association of Selangor (FAS).
Early years and education
Mohamed Azmin Ali was born on 25 August 1964 in Singapore (then a state of Malaysia) to Ali and Che Tom Yahaya. His father worked for the British Army as a clerk. His family later migrated to Malaysia and he grew up in Kuala Lumpur. He began his education at Gurney Road Primary School, then Setapak High School, and ended it at Jalan Cheras Technical Institute.
He received Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. He later completed his Master of Education's degree (MEd) from the same institute where he met Shamsidar Taharin, his future wife. While studying, Azmin taught modern and additional mathematics. One of his notable students was Razali Ibrahim, a former deputy minister, when they were in MRSM Terendak. He also attended an executive training programme at the University of Oxford.
In 1987, following advice from the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Azmin started working for Anwar Ibrahim, who was then a Minister in Mahathir's Barisan Nasional government. Azmin served as Anwar's personal secretary through Anwar's appointment as Deputy Prime Minister in 1993 and until Mahathir sacked Anwar in 1998. Azmin remained close to Anwar following the dismissal and they both became founders of the opposition Parti Keadilan Nasional (KeADILan), which later became the People's Justice Party or Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
State assemblyman and parliamentarian
Keadilan entered the 1999 general elections amidst voter anger over Anwar's dismissal and subsequent imprisonment. Azmin was elected Selangor State Assemblyman for Hulu Kelang. However, he was barred from participating in the 2004 general elections due to his conviction for lying in court during the trial against Anwar. The High Court and Court of Appeal have since acquitted him.
Azmin returned to national politics in the 2008 general elections, winning the Gombak parliamentary seat and Bukit Antarabangsa state seat in Selangor. Meanwhile, in 2010, he won an internal PKR election for the party's deputy presidency. He replaced Syed Husin, who did not seek re-election. He was reelected as the party's deputy president in 2018 after a close election against Rafizi Ramli.
In the 2013 general elections and 2018 general elections he managed to clinch both seats again.
Menteri Besar of Selangor
Azmin became the Menteri Besar of Selangor on 23 September 2014, following the resignation of the PKR incumbent Khalid Ibrahim. His ascension to the post followed months of internal political wrangling within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition that led the state. Khalid had been the Menteri Besar since the coalition of PKR, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) won a majority in the Selangor State Assembly in the 2008 election. In early 2014, PKR's national leader, Anwar Ibrahim, then a federal parliamentarian sought to contest the Selangor State Assembly seat of Kajang in a by-election. The so-called "Kajang Move" would have allowed Anwar to oust Khalid as Menteri Besar with PKR's support. However, after Anwar's conviction for sodomy weeks before the by-election, his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail assumed PKR's nomination for the by-election in his place and won the seat. Khalid resigned as Menteri Besar after PKR withdrew its support for his leadership later in the year. PKR, with the DAP's support, nominated Wan Azizah to replace him, but both the Sultan of Selangor (who appoints the Menteri Besar) and the third coalition party, PAS, sought other options. The Sultan requested that each coalition party submit three names for his consideration. PKR and the DAP submitted only Wan Azizah's name, while PAS submitted others. On 22 September, the Sultan announced the appointment of Azmin. He was sworn into office the following morning.
Azmin was the sole recipient of the Order of the Crown of Selangor in Knight Grand Commander class (S.P.M.S) in 2015, which carries the title 'Dato' Seri' in conjunction with the 70th birthday of the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah on 11 December 2015.
Azmin was once again reelected as the Menteri Besar of Selangor in the aftermath of 2018 Malaysian general election after defending his Bukit Antarabangsa state seat. He was sworn into title on the evening of 11 May 2018 at Istana Alam Shah.
Minister of Economic Affairs
Following the aftermath of the 2018 General Election, Azmin was named as one of the ministers in the newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's cabinet on 18 May 2018. He is to head the newly established Ministry of Economic Affairs. He was sworn in as the Minister of Economic Affairs on 21 May 2018 at Istana Negara. His term ended on 24 February 2020 after the dissolution of cabinet following the resignation of Mahathir Mohamad as Malaysia's Prime Minister per article 43(5) of the Constitution of Malaysia, that allowed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the appointment of ministers.
Change of allegiance
On the morning of 23 February 2020, Azmin held a meeting with several lawmakers from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and twenty others at Sheraton Hotel, Petaling, amidst the rumour of a formation of a new coalition at the parliament of Malaysia. He and his faction in PKR, went to the Istana Negara on the evening to seek a meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Abdullah of Pahang. Leaders from other five political parties; Bersatu's Muhyiddin Yassin, UMNO's Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, GPS's Abang Johari Openg, Warisan's Shafie Apdal and PAS's Hadi Awang were also in attendance. It was speculated that the leaders were there to brief the Agong about the recent political development; formation of a new coalition government and to declare their support for a new prime minister, effectively blocking PKR's president Anwar Ibrahim from the position. After the meeting, several opposition party leaders, including UMNO's Ismail Sabri Yaakob and PAS' Hadi Awang then joined Azmin's supporters at Sheraton Hotel.
On the next day, 24 February, PKR's general secretary, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced in a press conference at the party's headquarters that Azmin and Minister of Housing and Local Government, Zuraida Kamaruddin who is also the vice president of PKR had been sacked from the party. Saifuddin explained that they were expelled due to their actions on 23 October which was against the party's principle regarding the position of prime minister. Azmin later announced that he will be forming an independent bloc at the parliament along with Zuraida and other nine MPs who had decided to exit the party following his expulsion. However, on 28 February 2020, a representative from Bersatu confirmed that Azmin and his faction had joined the party.
He was named as one of the four senior ministers alongside Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Fadillah Yusof and Mohd Radzi Md Jidin in Muhyiddin cabinet on 9 March 2020. The positions were established by Muhyiddin Yassin, the eighth prime minister as a substitute for the deputy prime minister position. Although the four ministers were of equal standings, Azmin was designated by the prime minister to preside over the cabinet's meeting in his absence.
He is married to Shamshida Tahrin, a finance graduate also from the University of Minnesota. The couple have three sons and three daughters. He lives in Ampang.
In addition to an elder brother, Azman Ali, among his younger brothers are television host and celebrity Azwan Ali, and motivator Arpah Ali, while his younger sister is Ummi Hafilda Ali, a prosecution witness in the sodomy trial of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.