Malaysian Party Withdraws Support For Muhyiddin Amid COVID Outbreak

Malaysian Party Withdraws Support For Muhyiddin Amid COVID Outbreak

Malaysia’s largest political party announced on Thursday it was withdrawing its support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and called on him to step down, underlining the political instability plaguing the country as it struggles to contain a resurgent coronavirus .
Politics have been in flux since a takeover of the then-ruling coalition led to its collapse at the end of February last year. Muhyiddin became prime minister after convincing the king that he had sufficient support in parliament, but has been under pressure ever since.

The escalation of the COVID-19 crisis has added to the government’s woes, with much of the country, including the capital Kuala Lumpur and its wealthiest state, Selangor, on lockdown, and hospitals at full capacity or almost.

Zahid Hamidi, president of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO), said the party has decided to withdraw its support for the prime minister due to his inability to fight the pandemic.

His comments came just hours after Muhyiddin promoted two UMNO leaders to senior positions. UMNO is the largest party in the governing coalition and dominated Malaysian politics for years before losing power for the first time in May 2018. Wednesday’s promotions gave the party the post of Deputy Prime Minister previously vacant, in addition to the high-level positions he already holds.

Food banks were defined to help those struggling with the effects of prolonged lockdowns that have affected people’s ability to work [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Political analysts have said the UMNO decision is unlikely to lead to the collapse of Muhyiddin’s government, as it is not clear whether a stronger coalition can be formed to replace it. UMNO has previously said it will not cooperate with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

“As the country cannot do without a government and cannot have elections now, allowing Muhyiddin to remain in power as a minority government is the most reasonable solution,” said political analyst Wong. Chin Huat. “But Muhyiddin must behave as one, not as if he still has the majority. “

Parliament was suspended in January after Muhyiddin declared an “emergency”, citing the coronavirus pandemic, which allowed the government to rule by decree.

Calls for the resumption of Parliament are increasing and it is now planned to sit for a few days from July 26.

The “emergency” order is due to end on August 1st.

Malaysia reported 91 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 10 people “brought dead” to hospital. The total death toll in the country now stands at 5,768, with 40% of those deaths occurring in the past 30 days.

The government has been criticized on many fronts, including the pace of the vaccine rollout, its COVID-19 testing strategy and the lack of support for people who have lost their income following successive lockdowns.


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