Malaysia won’t hold elections until after the pandemic – Prime Minister

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A banner “In commemoration of the 612th anniversary of Zheng He's voyages” is seen in the 300-year-old Jonker Street in Malacca's historic towns. The Jonker Street, the Chinatown street of Malacca, witnessed the frequent exchanges between China and Malaysia in history. (Photo by Yu Yichun from People’s Daily)
A banner “In commemoration of the 612th anniversary of Zheng He's voyages” is seen in the 300-year-old Jonker Street in Malacca's historic towns. The Jonker Street, the Chinatown street of Malacca, witnessed the frequent exchanges between China and Malaysia in history. (Photo by Yu Yichun from People’s Daily)

dpa/GNA – Malaysia will not hold parliamentary elections during the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, said in a Monday speech marking one year since he took office.

“Once the pandemic is over which I hope will be very soon, I will advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong [Malaysia’s king] to dissolve the parliament,” Muhyiddin said.

“The main focus of this government at this moment is to steer this country clear of the double whammy of health and economic crises,” said the premier, a 73-year-old who last week was the first to receive a Covid-19 shot at the start of the vaccination campaign.

Malaysia has been under emergency rule for almost two months. The state of emergency is to last until August with parliament on hold for the second time, since the start of the pandemic.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is however challenging the suspension, with a court hearing scheduled for Thursday.

The state of emergency was declared one day after Muhyiddin’s administration also imposed a second lockdown, as infections doubled between December and January. The lockdown has however since been eased across most of the country and infections have declined.

Malaysia’s neighbours have been holding elections despite the pandemic. Singapore elected a new parliament in mid-2020, followed by Myanmar in November, and Indonesia ran hundreds of regional polls in December.

Muhyiddin took power after his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad unexpectedly resigned in February 2020. The premier leads a coalition of parties that had unexpectedly lost against Mahathir in 2018.

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