Emergency powers bid rejected by monarch . . .
Despite rumours of a potential resignation, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has survived a crisis of legitimacy after two key parties decided to continue supporting his government. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and the Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) on Monday reaffirmed support for Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) governing coalition after the country’s king rejected a bid by Muhyiddin to declare a state of emergency over the COVID-19 crisis. The measure would have allowed Muhyiddin to push through legislation, including his government’s first budget, without a Parliament vote. King Al-Sultan Abdullah warned politicians to “immediately stop politicking that could disrupt the stability of the government.” Many Malaysians took to social media to voice their appreciation of the king’s rejection of emergency rule.
Months-long parliamentary gridlock and political turmoil . . .
The king’s admonishment of 'politicking' alludes to the months-long political crisis since Muhyiddin became prime minister in March. The current PN governing coalition has only a slim two-seat majority in Parliament, relying on UMNO and PAS members who are increasingly demanding more say in Muhyiddin’s government. Najib Razak, Malaysia’s former prime minister and a former UMNO president, also waded into the fray, urging UMNO members to support opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim instead, indicating divisions within the party.
‘Politicking’ poses challenges for COVID response and APEC summit . . .
For now, it seems that the king’s admonition will be enough to persuade most politicians to support Muhyiddin’s 2021 budget in its November 6 vote. The budget and the stability of the government will be central to Malaysia’s response to its worsening COVID-19 crisis. Case counts have recently broken new daily records, and several areas are subject to renewed lockdown orders. The country will also host the first-ever virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November. These initiatives' success and the country’s COVID-19 response will likely depend on its ability to weather and resolve its domestic political troubles.
- Channel NewsAsia: Malaysian king rejects state of emergency proposal: What this means for the upcoming budget debate
- Malaysiakini: Analyst: Defeating Budget 2021 bill is Anwar’s last chance
- World Politics Review: How a new youth-driven party is shaking up Malaysian politics