News ID: 315627
Published: 0234 GMT August 21, 2021

Malaysia's new PM takes office amid mounting health crisis

Malaysia's new PM takes office amid mounting health crisis

Malaysia's new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob takes the oath of office during his inauguration at National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 21, 2021.

A new Malaysian leader was sworn in Saturday following the previous government's collapse, reclaiming the premiership for his party without an election.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob is a stalwart of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the lynchpin of a long-ruling coalition that lost power in landmark elections during the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB graft scandal in 2018, according to AFP.

He was named as the new prime minister Friday, days after his predecessor quit following a turbulent 17 months in office.

Malaysia's king opted to appoint a new premier based on who had majority support in parliament, rather than call an election, over concerns a vote could worsen a dire coronavirus outbreak.

The Southeast Asian nation battles its worst COVID-19 surge and public anger grows over mismanagement of the pandemic.

In an elaborate ceremony at the national palace, Ismail Sabri, wearing a traditional Malaysian outfit, took the oath of office before the king.

The 61-year-old was deputy prime minister when UMNO was a partner in the last government, and has held several other cabinet posts during a long political career.

His predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin quit after losing his parliamentary majority, as public anger grew over his government's handling of the pandemic.

Long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who lost out in the race for the premiership, urged his alliance to face the new "challenge" and "work harder" to prepare for the next elections.

His opposition coalition stormed to power at the 2018 polls but their government fell apart last year amid bitter infighting, paving the way for Muhyiddin to take office.

Ismail Sabri becomes Malaysia's third new prime minister in less than four years.







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