After working with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for close to four decades, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz hopes to end his political career together with his “friend and comrade.”
“It should end when his (career) ends… Or (if) he ends me first…,” he told Malaysiakini when questioned on his political ambition.
Nazri, 64, said he has served as a minister for 19 years and considered this “too long”.
“Unless of course, I am the prime minister…,” he added in jest.
The Umno supreme council member also revealed that he has no plans to vie for a post higher than his current position in the party.
“It’s past my time already lah,” he replied when asked if he would contest for an Umno vice-president post.
Nazri (photo) also recalled the time when Najib and him rose through the ranks to become the top leaders in Umno Youth.
Najib had succeeded jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as Umno Youth chief in 1987 and Nazri was appointed as his reluctant number two.
“To be honest with you, when PM was the Umno Youth chief, I was the deputy. Not by choice, I did not want to…,” he said.
When Najib chose to contest for the vice-president’s post, Nazri said he made it clear that he had no intentions of succeeding him as Youth chief.
“I said to Najib, I don’t want to succeed you. When you go, I go…,” he said.
Nazri, however, held the post of acting Umno Youth chief for two years between 1994 and 1996 as Najib’s successor Rahim Thamby Chik was investigated by the police.
“When the PM left, he told me specifically, ‘Nazri, when I leave, it’s only because I know you are going to take over from me, and I know it (Umno Youth) will be in good hands’,” said Nazri.
‘I have always been his assistant’
As for the next Umno election, Nazri reiterated his decision not to contest for the top posts.
“I will not go for vice-president because it means that one day I have to succeed him (Najib), which I don’t want to. I just want that when he leaves, I leave. That’s it. End of story, bye-bye.
“I don’t wish to work under anyone else. He’s a friend and he’s my comrade. I have always been his assistant…,” he added.
Pointed out that it is common for politicians to conceal their ambitions, Nazri said he always felt that he became a politician by accident.
“I already had this problem before when they asked me to take over from Najib (as Umno Youth chief).
“I said I won’t contest and they said the same thing (that he was lying)…but I stuck to my ground and said ‘no’. They forced me, but I did not want to.
“There is a precedent to show that I say what I mean and I mean what I say,” he stressed.