New Malaysian PM urges opposition to join COVID-19 effort
By Rozanna Latiff
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s new prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said on Sunday he would call on opposition leaders to join government special committees to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, seeking to stabilize politics after years of turmoil.
Ismail Sabri supported https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/tough-task-ahead-malaysias-new-pm-ismail-sabri-amid-crises-2021-08-20 Saturday with a slim parliamentary majority as the Southeast Asian nation battles its worst COVID-19 wave and public anger grows over mismanagement of the pandemic. He brings back to power a party marred by massive allegations of corruption.
The 61-year-old was deputy prime minister in Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration, which collapsed on Monday due to coalition infighting – the second government to fall since the 2018 general election.
In a televised address, Ismail Sabri said he would invite opposition leaders to the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on COVID-19.
“I understand that the political turmoil that besieged the country has afflicted the public. Therefore, it is imperative that political stability is quickly achieved through solidarity, and this includes inter-party cooperation,” he said. .
The new prime minister said he would bolster the previous government’s COVID-19 strategy and purchase an additional 6 million doses of the vaccine by early September. He was a key minister responsible for shaping Malaysia’s response to the pandemic under Muhyiddin.
Infections and deaths in Malaysia are the highest in Southeast Asia relative to population, with the pandemic also hurting the economy. The central bank has twice cut its forecast for 2021 this year.
Ismail Sabri has pledged to focus on increasing the purchasing power of consumers and reviving the private sector for economic growth.
He is restoring the role of prime minister to the United Malaysian National Organization (UMNO), which was dismissed in 2018, due to widespread corruption allegations after ruling the country for more than 60 years since independence.
Malaysia has since been in a state of political instability.
Former UMNO prime minister Mahathir Mohamad returned in the 1990s to lead an opposition in a historic victory, but his alliance fell apart due to infighting.
Muhyiddin then formed a coalition with parties beaten in the polls, including UMNO, but it also proved fragile, with the long dominant party giving up playing supporting roles.
Ismail Sabri and Muhyiddin were both appointed by the country’s king, who has the constitutional authority to do so, without a general election.
Political politics during the pandemic had prompted many, including the King https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysias-king-meet-physical-leaders-search-new-pm-begins- 2021-08-17, to call on political parties to work together to ensure stability.
King Al-Sultan Abdullah called on Ismail Sabri to face a vote of confidence in parliament to prove his majority.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by William Mallard)