Salem Radio Network News Monday, August 2, 2021


Key party in Malaysia alliance withdraws support from PM Muhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s biggest political party and key ally in the ruling coalition withdrew support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin late on Wednesday and called on him to resign for failing to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to pull support came just hours after Muhyiddin appointed a senior member of the party as deputy prime minister, seen as a bid to ease infighting within the ruling alliance.

Muhyiddin’s tenure since taking office in March last year has been plagued by tensions with UMNO, the largest bloc in his coalition, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has hampered the economy.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement the decision to withdraw support for Muhyiddin was due to the government’s failure to manage the pandemic effectively, to ensure political and economic stability, and to win the trust of the people.

“UMNO calls on Muhyiddin to resign gracefully, to allow a new prime minister to be appointed for a limited term,” he said.

The new premier, Zahid said, would only be focused on efforts to manage the spread of the pandemic and help those impacted.

Zahid also called for elections to be held after herd immunity was achieved.

Elections are not due until 2023, but Muhyiddin had said earlier this year he would hold elections as soon as it was safe to do so amid the pandemic.

Muhyiddin has a slim majority in parliament, which has been suspended since January after Malaysia’s king declared a national emergency on the premier’s advice. The move has been seen by Muhyiddin’s critics as an attempt to cling to power.

A special parliamentary sitting is scheduled for later this month ahead of the end of the emergency on Aug. 1.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Michael Perry)


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