Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Aziz has served as Malaysia’s Minister of Finance (MOF) under two Prime Ministers, Muhyiddin Yassin (from March 2020 to August 2021), and Ismail Sabri Yaakob (from August 2021). Appointed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, Tengku Zafrul led MOF in formulating and implementing eight stimulus and aid packages, collectively valued at USD125 billion to support, among others, the lower income group, unemployed and small businesses.
Tengku Zafrul has also tabled two expansionary, counter-cyclical budgets valued at circa USD73.5 billion (2021) and USD76 billion (2022), which focused on job creation and business recovery. During his tenure, Malaysia’s unemployment rate reduced from its peak of 5.3% (May 2020) to 3.9% in May 2022. Almost 560,000 jobs were created in 2021 against the initial target of 500,000, on the back of wage subsidies in excess of RM15 billion that kept more than 322,000 businesses afloat and saved 2.6 million jobs. Other key initiatives include the efficient rollout of the national vaccination programme coupled with the decisive execution of the National Recovery Plan, which were conceptualized by MOF to exit the pandemic safely and systematically.
Prior to his Ministerial appointment, he was Group CEO and Executive Director of CIMB Group Holdings Berhad, a leading ASEAN universal bank and a global leader in Islamic finance, with presence in 15 countries worldwide. He was also the CEO/Executive Director of CIMB Bank Berhad and President Commissioner of the PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk.