Sunday, 13 Jun 2021

Malaysian PM Muhyiddin visits Istana Negara as King is set to meet political leaders

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrived at the palace early on Wednesday (June 9), in what appears to be the first of a series of audiences that the King is granting to political leaders to discuss Malaysia’s Covid-19 and political crises.

The Premier usually meets the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, on Wednesdays for a pre-Cabinet briefing, and Tan Sri Muhyiddin, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president, left after an hour.

Political and government sources, as well as media reports since Monday have indicated that the constitutional monarch is meeting party chiefs across the political divide over the rest of the week.

This comes as an emergency proclaimed in January to ostensibly fight the coronavirus pandemic edges towards its Aug 1 expiry, yet the nation is in the throes of another lockdown.

Opponents of PM Muhyiddin have called for Parliament, which last sat in December to pass this year’s budget, to be reopened so that the worsening outbreak – which in May alone claimed nearly half of Malaysia’s total pandemic death toll of 3,000 – can be addressed.

The state of emergency suspends the requirement for Parliament to reconvene within six months of its last sitting and also secures the Muhyiddin administration in power.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is expected to have an audience later on Wednesday, while former premier Mahathir Mohamad is slated for Thursday.

A member of the opposition’s committee lobbying for an end to the emergency, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan, had earlier said the meetings would be on “uniting the country”.

The Council of Rulers is also expected to meet on June 16, amid speculation that the King is seeking views on the emergency and solutions for the pandemic such as forming a bipartisan body.

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