KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz has announced he will retire from politics, after 26 years in the Dewan Rakyat.

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported the former Cabinet minister as saying that he has decided to not contest in the 15th general election.

Nazri said he sought to leave politics as early as the previous two general elections before, but stayed on at the behest of Umno leaders and his own constituents.

Now is the appropriate time to retire, as he said Umno’s next generation of leaders including Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein have risen up the ranks.

“I think when we lost the elections in 2018, it was like a blessing in disguise. Because after that we could not continue as the government and were no longer in charge of forming the Cabinet. So, it is much easier now,” Nazri said in the interview with FMT.

The 67-year old noted he is soon approaching his 70s, and as such making a good exit is important.

“The good days will have to end someday, but it is okay. I have enjoyed my time in politics,” Nazri said, adding that there are many politicians who can replace him.

When asked if he would recommend anyone to contest his seat in the next general election, Nazri said it is not for him to decide.

“I have been in public service for many years now. I started off as Majlis Amanah Rakyat chairman in 1990 for five years, served as a deputy minister for five years, a minister for 19 years and an MP since 1995. I was also a Senator in 1990.

“I have given a lot of my time to public service, so why should there be any regret?” he said.

The veteran politician’s career first began at the grassroots level in 1978, when he was elected as exco of Umno Youth Movement. 

Over the years, he has held several offices, including Umno Youth Movement’s International Affairs Bureau chairman in 1986, and BN Malaysia Youth in 1990. That same year also saw Nazri’s appointment to Umno’s Supreme Council as a member.

During the first tenure of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he was also appointed as deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in 1995, and deputy finance minister II in 1999 shortly before the general election that year.

Other portfolios include entrepreneur development minister that same year, which he held until 2004. Subsequently he was appointed as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for legal affairs from 2004 until 2013, with his last portfolio as tourism, arts and culture minister from 2013 to 2018.

Originally the MP of Chenderoh, where he won two elections, Nazri moved to Padang Rengas in 2004 following the Election Commission’s demarcation exercise, and has retained the seat in the subsequent four elections.

Noted for his outspokenness, he was one of the party members who called for Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to resign as party president earlier this year and recently also called for former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

However, Nazri reportedly changed his mind and instead supported him up until last month, when Umno’s Supreme Council made the decision to retract its support for Muhyiddin.