UMNO says its ministers will stay in Cabinet, but wants general election once COVID-19 is under control - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) said late Thursday night (Oct 29) that all its ministers will stay in the Cabinet for now, while calling for a general election to be held once COVID-19 is under control.
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) said late Thursday night (Oct 29) that all its ministers will stay in the Cabinet for now, while calling for a general election to be held once COVID-19 is under control. This came amid talk of a possible Cabinet reshuffle, with some suggesting that there might be a deputy prime minister from UMNO. Advertisement Advertisement In a statement released after the party held its second supreme council meeting this week, UMNOs president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said: All Cabinet members who represent UMNO will continue in government and commit to protecting the peoples welfare and defend the partys honour. However, the party also stated that the peoples mandate should be returned to form a government that is stable, by holding a general election once the COVID-19 pandemic was under control and at a minimum level. Advertisement Advertisement The statement said UMNO would continue to be focused and consistent on the importance of a political ceasefire and the national reconciliation agenda, in order to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic while taking care of the peoples welfare and the countrys peace and political stability. UMNO wishes to repeat clearly that we uphold the king's and rulers' councils decree to ensure the country's administration is well-managed, based on the supremacy of laws and honouring the spirit enshrined in the Federal Constitution, and not taking the country into an emergency like what was proposed by the government, said Ahmad Zahid. He added that the party has refined the various views and hopes of the people regarding the upcoming budget to be tabled on Nov 6, and will forward these to the government. These include the loan moratorium extension issue, household living assistance for those how had lost their income, assistance for unemployed youths, special payments for frontliners and other initiatives to raise Malaysias economic development. Advertisement Ahmad Zahid also said that any parties action to question UMNOs decision to support the royal decree was irresponsible and extremely regretted. The party would also not hesitate to take firm action to protect both the rulers sovereignty and peoples interest. Although UMNO is not formally registered in the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, the support of its 39 MPs are a crucial bloc in supporting Mr Muhyiddin Yassins slim parliamentary majority. On Monday, the party reaffirmed its support for the PN government, but also urged better cooperation, stating that its political relationship should be based on respect and political consensus. The Monday announcement was in the wake of the Malaysian king and rulers councils decision to reject a proposal by Mr Muhyiddin on Oct 23, to declare a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and political instability. A state of emergency would have seen the upcoming parliamentary sitting on Nov 2 suspended. There was earlier speculation that some lawmakers from UMNO were prepared to work with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. UMNO politicians have been perceived to be seeking a more favourable redistribution of government positions for the party's lawmakers.
Pakatan Harapan urges PM Muhyiddin to negotiate with opposition before tabling budget 2021 - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan has urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss and negotiate with the opposition before tabling the 2021 budget in the parliament next week.
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan has urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss and negotiate with the opposition before tabling the 2021 budget in the parliament next week. In a joint statement on Thursday (Oct 29), PH presidential council said the budget has to focus on the needs of frontliners, who were defending Malaysians from the COVID-19 pandemic. Advertisement Advertisement It (the budget) also needs to set a direction which can ensure Malaysia will continue to progress, during and after the pandemic. This includes identifying new development strategies for the economy, while helping millions of Malaysians who have been affected, whether through loss of jobs or income in 2020, the joint statement said. The statement was jointly issued by Mr Anwar Ibrahim, who leads Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), together with Mr Lim Guan Eng and Mr Mohamad Sabu from the Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara respectively. Advertisement Advertisement The statement added that millions of Malaysian who are now at or below the poverty line are hoping for help through this budget. Groups which should not be left behind are also those who hope for the loan moratorium to be extended," it said. "Based on these reasons, the PH presidential council strongly agrees with the king that it is of utmost importance and seriousness for the budget to be negotiated with the opposition before it is tabled in the parliament," it added. The PH presidential council had met earlier at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya. Advertisement The upcoming parliament meeting on Nov 2 will see Mr Muhyiddin presenting his first budget, and the exercise is expected to be fraught with bargaining and negotiations, as the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has only a slim two-seat majority. Meanwhile, the countrys economy has taken a beating from the COVID-19 pandemic and various lockdowns imposed to combat its spread. On Oct 23, Mr Muhyiddin had a special meeting with Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to present proposals to declare a state of emergency amid the worsening COVID-19 situation and ongoing political instability. However, following the Malay Rulers Council meeting on Oct 25, the king said he felt there was no need to declare a state of emergency for Malaysia. Following this rejection, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) after a series of meetings announced late on Monday night that they would continue supporting the PN government led by Mr Muhyiddin. Previously, it was speculated that some UMNO leaders, including party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, were behind the idea of supporting Mr Anwar. The latter had previously claimed that he commanded a majority in terms of parliamentary support. In light of the developments, Mr Anwar issued a statement on Tuesday calling for a bipartisan effort for budget 2021.
Commentary: UMNO's in no shape to play kingmaker in Malaysia - CNA
UMNO might not hold all the cards, despite holding almost a third of the seats the ruling Perikatan Nasional has in Parliament, given the infighting, says James Chin.
HOBART: In the past 48 hours, many people inside and outside Malaysia have been perplexed by the politics. Just as everyone was surprised that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin wanted to declare a State of Emergency, a second political shock came when the King rejected his request. Advertisement Advertisement Although the decision was couched in polite terms, the Kings response sent a strong, unequivocal signal that the politicians should sort out their house without resorting to seeking the palaces support to bolster their positions, whether via a State of Emergency or endorsement on a list of Members of Parliament backing them. More bluntly, the Kings effective message was: Please go away and dont bother me. This led directly to a United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Supreme Council Meeting on Monday (Oct 26) night where the UMNO president Zahid Hamidi said his party will support the Muhyiddin administration and that the status quo will remain. Advertisement Advertisement But this high public drama obfuscates several key, more consequential elements in the critical political developments over the past few days. THE SPLIT WITHIN UMNO The first is the odd incidence of the joint letter purportedly signed by former Prime Minister Najib Razak and Zahid to the King to support Anwar Ibrahim for Prime Minister that surfaced last week in news reports. The UMNO Supreme Council was caught unaware of the letter. Advertisement It was even more incredible given that Najib does not hold any official post in UMNO. If such a letter supporting Anwar was real and truly reflected UMNOs position, it should have been signed by Zahid alone. Regardless of the authenticity of the letter, it was enough to cast doubt in peoples minds and seed discord within UMNO. The fact is that Najibs influence in UMNO has not been dented by the guilty verdict and the other ongoing 1MDB trials. Many in UMNO still see Najib as the ideas man. For them, hes their only strategic thinker and they look up to him, unlike Zahid, who is not seen as a strategic thinker and mostly not seen as a long term UMNO leader. Thus Najib remains the key player in UMNO politics. The letter also shone the spotlight on an issue very close to UMNOs heart - UMNO wants to be back in the driving seat and has been frustrated by Muhyiddins stymieing of their efforts. When they helped Muhyiddin form the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government earlier this year, they thought Muhyiddin he would eventually cede the leadership spot. Besides, UMNO, with more seats than Bersatu, and with PAS support could easily out-manoeuvre Muhyiddin and Bersatu. Or so they thought. MACHIAVELLIAN MUHYIDDIN But it did not turn out that way because Muhyiddin turned out to be more Machiavellian. Bersatu got some of the most important and lucrative positions in the administration. Muhyiddin also bypassed UMNO by refusing to appoint a Deputy Prime Minister, which would have had most likely gone to an UMNO politician, opting instead of appointing four senior ministers. Of the four, three are clearly in Muhyiddins camp - Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali, who defected to Bersatu in March, Senior Minister for Education and Society and Bersatu Vice-President Radzi Jidin and Senior Minister for Infrastructure Development and Gabungan Parti Sarawak Chief Whip Fadillah Yusuf - with Defence Minister and Vice-President of UMNO Sabri Yaakob the only one from UMNOs camp. There are many other instances of UMNO MPs being pushed aside in favour of Bersatu supporters. The latest one is the appointment of the Sabah chief minister. UMNO wanted the job be given to Bung Moktar Radin, Sabah UMNOs chief but the job ended up with Hajiji Noor from Bersatu. But how UMNO gets there has been a point of contention. For some time now, there is a growing faction inside UMNO who are dead against Zahid and Najib. Their main gripe against both men is that they have proven incapable of handling Muhyiddin, not to mention the fact that both have been mired in corruption charges, impeding their ability to lead and sullying UMNOs reputation. Zahid and Najib know they have to work together to further their interests in securing UMNOs position in the Muhyiddin administration and find some quiet resolution to their corruption charges. But the genuine reformers in UMNO think UMNO will never recover its reputation as long as Najib and Zahid pulls the levers of power in UMNO. Many, like Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin, think UMNOs support among rural Malays is intact and what is really needed are reforms in the party to restore the spirit of openness, win back voters and return UMNO to its glory days. WHAT ABOUT ANWAR? This is where Anwar comes in. Anwar probably saw up-close the increasing unhappiness in UMNO over their marginalisation within the PN coalition by Muhyiddin and saw a chance to bring some over to his side. He only needed about a dozen UMNO MPs to defeat the Muhyiddin government. Unlike Muhyiddin, Anwar was in a position to offer a new deal if UMNO was to support him. It is known that UMNO wants the DPM office and the key economic ministries. Muhyiddin would find it hard to replace the incumbents with UMNO while Anwar can easily make initial appointments in a new government. But Muhyiddin turned out to be the better poker player and appears to have the upper hand, especially after the backlash from Anwars Pakatan Harapan coalition over the possibility that Anwar would even be willing to work with Najib and Zahid. Many see this as an ultimate betrayal of Anwars reformasi pledge. Prominent Democratic Alliance Party (DAP) leader Tony Pua even used the words go to hell in a Facebook post to describe the proposed new alliance. If Anwar accepts, he would effectively be unravelling the PH coalition of which his PKR party and the DAP made two key pillars. The core issue now is trust. Can UMNO bank on Anwar more than Muhyiddin? Anwar does not even have a government in place. Many of UMNOs core voters in the rural areas may also reject UMNOs support in helping to create an Anwar administration. Many are distrustful over what they see as Anwars liberal attitudes given his decades-long alliance with the DAP. These conservative Malays cannot accept DAP in power. So what is Anwar to do? UMNOs pull out of support may end Anwars fourth attempt to be PM. Unless Anwar can build a coalition to vote down the budget in the next parliamentary sitting, I cannot see a path forward for Anwar to keep his Sep 23 announcement that he has the numbers to get rid of Muhyiddin in these few weeks. LOGIC OUT OF THE WINDOW In the meantime, should one take seriously the statement by Zahid that UMNO will support Muhyiddin for now? The short answer is no. Zahid does not have the complete support of UMNO. At most, Najib and he have the strong support of the most influential faction in UMNO. Anwar will of course keep knocking on UMNOs various factions, hoping one of them is strong enough to support him, or at the least, try to undermine Zahids open pronouncement that UMNO will support Muhyiddin. If there is a common lesson from the recent political movements, it is that COVID-19 has not stopped the Malay political elites from playing the game of who controls Putrajaya. Those who think this was resolved in March when became Prime Minister after another political saga, will really need to re-evaluate their assumptions of Malay politics. Malay politics has never been based on rational actions or what is best for the country. It has always been driven by personal interests and sprinkles of ketuanan Melayu Islam (Malay Islamic Supremacy). The process is mostly illogical from the system-viewpoint. Professor James Chin is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania and Senior Fellow at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia.
Pompeo slams 'predator' China on Sri Lanka trip - CNA
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China's Communist government a "predator" Wednesday, during a trip to boost ties with Sri Lanka, which has received huge investment and diplomatic support from Beijing.
COLOMBO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China's Communist government a "predator" on Wednesday (Oct 28), during a trip to boost ties with Sri Lanka, which has received huge investment and diplomatic support from Beijing. Pompeo made his latest attack on China after talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on security cooperation to keep open vital Indian Ocean sea lanes just south of Sri Lanka. Advertisement Advertisement "A strong sovereign Sri Lanka is a powerful strategic partner for the United States on the world stage," Pompeo told reporters as he wrapped up a 12-hour visit, the second stop on a four-nation tour. Pompeo described how Washington has provided military training and recently gifted two coastguard vessels, contrasting its assistance with China. "The Chinese Communist Party is a predator," he declared. Advertisement Advertisement The Chinese embassy in Colombo hit back, tweeting a promotional image for the Aliens vs Predator video game. "Sorry Mr Secretary Pompeo, we're busy promoting China-Sri Lanka friendship and cooperation, not interested in your Alien v Predator game invitation," it said. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena made no reference to China, but at a press conference with Pompeo, told reporters that the country maintains a non-aligned foreign policy. Sri Lanka borrowed billions of dollars from China for infrastructure when Rajapaksa's brother Mahinda was the country's leader from 2005 until 2015. Advertisement Unable to service a US$1.4 billion loan to build a deep sea port, the country was forced to lease the port to a Chinese firm for 99 years in 2017. On Tuesday the Chinese embassy accused Pompeo of trying to "coerce and bully" Sri Lanka with his visit. Earlier this month, Yang Jiechi, a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party politburo member, pledged more economic help to Sri Lanka when he was in Colombo. Anti-China comments have been a key theme of Pompeo's Asian tour this week, which began in India and will now take him on to the Maldives and Indonesia. China has in the past helped Sri Lanka fight off allegations of human rights violations, particularly in the final months of a decades-long civil war, when the current president was the country's top defence official. Washington has insisted on credible investigations into charges that Sri Lankan troops killed at least 40,000 civilians as they crushed Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in in 2009. Pompeo wrapped up his Sri Lanka visit by placing flowers and praying at a Roman Catholic church where 56 people were killed in suicide attacks on Easter Sunday last year. Five Americans were among 279 people killed in the coordinated attacks on three churches and three hotels in and around Colombo.
2 dead, 26 missing as Typhoon Molave slams into Vietnam - CNA
Typhoon Molave roared closer to Vietnam with destructive force Wednesday (Oct 28), leaving one villager dead and causing two boats with 12 fishermen to sink as the country braced for the most powerful storm in 20 years, state media said.
HANOI: Two people were reported killed and 26 others missing as Typhoon Molave hit central Vietnam on Wednesday (Oct 28), knocking down trees and tearing roofs off homes in some of the worst destruction seen in years. Authorities relocated around 375,000 people to safety, cancelled hundreds of flights and closed schools and beaches ahead of the typhoon, which made landfall south of Danang packing winds of up to 145 kmh. Advertisement Advertisement State media said at least two people were killed in Quang Ngai province while trying to protect their homes from the storm. A man died after winds of up to 150 kmh knocked him off his roof while trying to reinforce it, the official Vietnam News Agency reported. "The people of Vietnam are tough, yet this is among the worst destruction ever seen in many areas," said Vietnam Red Cross Society president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu. Advertisement Advertisement "The relentless storms and flooding are taking a devastating human toll, further destroying livelihoods and isolating millions of people." Officials were also searching for 26 missing fishermen, with the storm Vietnam's fourth this month bringing waves up to 6m high as power was cut off across the region. Navy and surveillance vessels were deployed to look for the crew members after their two boats disappeared after they attempted to dock, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said. Advertisement VTV showed displaced villagers huddled in classrooms that were converted into an evacuation center, where they spent the night. Provincial authorities shut down offices, factories and schools and asked people to remain indoors to prevent casualties. Vietnam is still recovering from severe flooding and landslides that killed 136 people and left dozens missing in three provinces. At least five airports were closed as the typhoon approached, with more than 200 flights cancelled. Train services were also suspended on Wednesday and will resume when the weather improves, the VTV network reported. Close to 1.2 million people were in "severe danger" and in need of relief, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned. "These relentless storms are yet another example of the devastating impact of climate change," Red Cross spokesman Christopher Rassi said. The typhoon left at least nine people dead and displaced 120,000 in the Philippines before blowing toward Vietnam. Most of those who took shelter in evacuation camps have returned home as the weather cleared, leaving behind villagers whose houses were destroyed.
Malaysia's ruling coalition welcomes 'spirit of solidarity' among component parties: Azmin Ali - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition welcomed the "spirit of solidarity" among its component parties, said Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali following Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's failed bid to call for a state of emergency in Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR: Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition welcomed the "spirit of solidarity" among its component parties, said Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali following Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's failed bid to call for a state of emergency in Malaysia. In his press statement issued on Tuesday (Oct 27), Mr Azmin, who is PN information chief, said component parties such as United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), Sabah-based Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party, have voiced their full support for Mr Muhyiddin's leadership and the PN government. Advertisement Advertisement "PN calls on all parties, especially political leaders across the divide, to embrace unity with citizens to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to revive Malaysia's economy," he said. Mr Azmin, who is also Minister for International Trade and Industry and a member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), said that PN thanked the Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for having confidence in the federal government's efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. "PN also thanks the confidence His Majesty has towards the wise execution and enforcement actions by the federal government to protect the people's safety, maintaining the people's welfare and guaranteeing security while improving the country's economy," Mr Azmin said. Advertisement Advertisement He added that the coalition has resolved to continue working hard together with the people and Malaysia's frontliners to fight the pandemic. On Oct 13, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he had a convincing majority to take over the government. There was speculation that some lawmakers from UMNO were prepared to work with Mr Anwar. UMNO politicians had previously agitated for a more favourable redistribution of government positions for the party's members of parliament. Advertisement Last week, Mr Muhyiddin asked the king to declare a state of emergency amid the COVID-19 crisis and political instability, which would have suspended the upcoming parliamentary meeting. This was rejected by the king after he consulted the Malay Rulers' Council on Sunday. On Monday night, UMNO said it will maintain its support for Mr Muhyiddin's government. On Tuesday, PAS also pledged "undivided loyalty" for the prime minister's leadership. Meanwhile, Mr Anwar has urged for a bipartisan effort in the upcoming budget debate to implement strategies against COVID-19.
Anwar calls for bipartisan effort in upcoming Malaysia budget to implement strategies against COVID-19 - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has called for a bipartisan effort for the 2021 budget, which is due to be presented in the Malaysian parliament next week.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysias opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has called for a bipartisan effort for the 2021 budget, which is due to be presented in the Malaysian parliament next week. It (the budget) should encompass the efforts and roles of government and opposition in devising potent strategies to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and also poverty issues, Mr Anwar said in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 27). Advertisement Advertisement He said he had taken note of the most recent political developments in the country, adding that the Malay rulers reminder and admonishment regarding abuse of power and principles of justice should not be taken lightly. Instead it should be supported by all parties who have the awareness and exactitude to reject decay, he noted. He added that his party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) would continue to fight for the reformation agenda, revolving on the principles of justice and welfare for all Malaysians. We are ready to work with any politicians who crave an order free from corruption and abuse of power while upholding politics of values, he said. Advertisement Advertisement On Oct 13, Mr Anwar claimed that he had a convincing majority to take over the government. There was speculation that some lawmakers from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) were prepared to work with Mr Anwar. UMNO politicians had previously agitated for a more favourable redistribution of government positions for the party's MPs, Last week, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin asked Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to declare a state of emergency amid the COVID-19 crisis and political instability, which would have seen the upcoming parliamentary meeting suspended. This was rejected by the king after he consulted the Malay Rulers Council on Sunday. Advertisement On Monday night, UMNO said that it will maintain its support for Mr Muhyiddin's government. On Tuesday, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) also pledged "undivided loyalty" for the prime minister's leadership. ACCEPT THAT MALAYSIAN DEMOCRACY WILL BE "50:50": SENATOR Senator Liew Chin Tong, who is a member of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), also said it was time for all Malaysias political leaders and people to accept that Malaysias voting results would remain a 50:50 democracy for a long time, and the 50 per cent on the losing side had to feel fairly treated. Mr Liew pointed to only three instances in Malaysias electoral history, where the Barisan Nasional coalition had won more than 60 per cent of the popular vote. But the-then ruling party ruled as if it garnered 95 per cent of the votes thanks to a gerrymandered and twisted electoral system that favoured BN, Mr Liew said in a blog post. In addition, Mr Liew stated that Malaysias days of prime minister as a dictator was over, and that no party could rule without coalition partners of similar strength. The role of the Prime Minister is not to dominate over his coalition partners, but to cobble together a coalition that can last him for the full term and hold them tightly without them feeling disenchanted, he said. Pointing to distrust and mistakes made by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and Mr Anwar when Pakatan Harapan was the ruling coalition, the DAP senator said Mr Muhyiddin is making the same mistakes at a much faster pace, which led to UMNOs dissatisfaction and the recent political turmoil. UMNOs ceasefire with Muhyiddin wont last if Muhyiddin still acts as if he is a Prime Minister which controls two-thirds of the seats the (ruling) coalition has, Mr Liew noted.
Onus is on PM Muhyiddin to reach out to opposition: PKR comms chief on political stability - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) communications director Fahmi Fadzil said on Monday (Oct 26) that the onus is on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to reach across the political divide and enhance political stability in the lead up to the budget deba…
KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyats (PKR) communications director Fahmi Fadzil said on Monday (Oct 26) that the onus is on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to reach across the political divide and enhance political stability in the lead up to the budget debate. As someone who has lost a great deal of political capital, its still not too late to reach out. He should do the honourable thing. The honourable thing any person in his position would do, Mr Fahmi told CNA. Advertisement Advertisement The Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament said the opposition would honour the advice by the king to stop politicking, while adding that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition could review new configurations. He added: We have sworn an oath of office to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution. It is important that the principles of governance and reforms are adhered to. We will not compromise on this. Having said that, the situation now is extremely fluid and I cannot put down precisely on what is next. The reconfiguration or new configurations to some extent needs to address the issues of political stability and make sure the policies of the government are not only adhered to but with COVID-19, also implemented well. On Sunday, King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said that there is no need to declare a state of emergency in Malaysia at this time, in response to suggestions put forward by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin regarding the COVID-19 situation. Advertisement Advertisement His Majesty would like to remind politicians to immediately stop all politicking that could disrupt the stability of the government," said a statement issued by Istana Negara. The Malaysian parliament is set to reconvene on Nov 2, with the tabling of next year's budget on Nov 6. Advertisement The prime minister had gone to Pahang last Friday to meet the king after he had a special Cabinet meeting in the morning. Rumours were rife that a state of emergency would be called. In response to the statement by the king, PKRs leader Anwar Ibrahim said late Sunday that he appreciated the royal decision to not comply with the suggestion of the prime minister. The historical decision and resolution by the king to reject the proposal of the prime minister and his Cabinet ministers to declare an emergency clearly strengthens the system of a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. I have also taken the advice of the king that politicians - including parliamentarians - should not be excessively politicking, said Mr Anwar. On Oct 13, Mr Anwar had an audience with the king after making claims that he had the parliamentary majority and that Mr Muhyiddins government has fallen. Separately, a Malaysian media report on Monday quoted the Democratic Action Partys (DAP) organising secretary Anthony Loke as saying that his party is willing to negotiate with the ruling government. The report also stated that the PH presidential council had agreed to the plan. When asked by CNA, Mr Loke said that the decision was not official yet. We have not had an official meeting. All I am saying is that Pakatan Harapan has agreed to talk to the government. The Pakatan Harapan coalition is open for negotiations, he said. Meanwhile, DAPs strategic director Liew Chin Tong wrote in a blog post entry: To reset the scene, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should make Parliament the avenue for genuine cooperation, consultation and co-governing with the opposition for the greater good of the nation in this time of COVID-19 crisis. Mr Liew, who is a senator, called on the prime minister to remove Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin and International Trade and Industries minister Azmin Ali from the Cabinet. To foster goodwill for bipartisanship, Muhyiddin should ask Hamzah Zainuddin and Azmin Ali to resign to take responsibility for wrongly advising the king and also for creating the toxic political atmosphere that led to the Cabinet decision of pushing for emergency rule. He added that the ruling government need not treat the opposition as the enemy of the state. With equal treatment of opposition MPs, treating them as equals to backbenchers in terms of resources and access to provide policy inputs, with a Confidence and Supply Agreement in place, the Muhyiddin government has an opportunity to turn the crisis into the new birth of Malaysian parliamentary democracy.
As COVID-19 hits swing states, Biden and Trump show sharp contrast - CNA
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio: United States President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden gave starkly contrasting messages on Saturday (Oct 24) about the COVID-19 pandemic, taking their campaigns for the White House on the road to swing states where COVID-1…
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio: United States President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden gave starkly contrasting messages on Saturday (Oct 24) about the COVID-19 pandemic, taking their campaigns for the White House on the road to swing states where COVID-19 cases are surging again. Trump addressed a few thousand supporters at a tightly packed, in-person, outdoor rally in North Carolina, one of the battleground states in the Nov 3 election. He again said America was turning the corner in the fight against COVID-19 and mocked Biden's more cautious campaigning style. Advertisement Advertisement Biden, a former vice president, addressed supporters in vehicles at two drive-in rallies in Pennsylvania and warned of a grim winter ahead unless the Trump administration did a better job of halting the disease, which has killed 224,000 Americans. Opinion polls show Biden leading Trump nationally, but the race is much closer in the battleground states that will decide the election. Advertisement Advertisement In Lumberton, North Carolina, he told supporters he was offering a fast recovery from the economic damage wrought by virus lockdowns, which have devastated small businesses and put millions out of work. "It's a choice between a Trump super boom and a Biden lockdown," the Republican president said. "We are rounding the turn," he said, repeating a claim he has been making for months that America is close to getting the better of the virus. By contrast, Biden warned that the cold months ahead could be even harsher due to a resurgence of the virus, which has killed more people in the United States than anywhere else and is on the rise in several battleground states. "It's going to be a dark winter ahead unless we change our ways," he said of Trump's attempts to contain the coronavirus. Advertisement Biden was addressing supporters in the town of Bristol who had gathered in pickup trucks or cars, many with their windows or sunroofs down, to avoid possible coronavirus infection. Biden's campaign limited each vehicle to a maximum of four passengers. At one point, Biden called out a group of Trump supporters who were shouting into microphones nearby. "We dont do things like those chumps out there with the microphone are doing. The Trump guys. It's about decency." At his event in Lumberton, Trump made fun of the Biden rally, which he said he had seen on television. "There were so few cars. I've never seen an audience like that," he said. "It was a tiny, tiny little crowd. You could hear the cars: Honk honk." COVID-19 SURGING The United States set a single-day record of more than 84,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, with the spike in infections hitting election swing states Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. North Carolina reported 2,584 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, down from a record high of 2,716 the day before. Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots as a safer way to vote during the pandemic. Trump voted in his adopted home of Florida on Saturday, joining more than 56 million Americans who have cast early ballots at a record-setting pace. Trump cast his ballot at a library in West Palm Beach, near his Mar-a-Lago resort, after switching his permanent residence and voter registration last year from New York to Florida, a must-win battleground for his re-election bid. In New York state, voters jammed polling places and stood in line for hours to cast ballots on the state's first day of early voting on Saturday. Long lines formed before polls opened across New York City and Long Island, videos on social media showed. With 10 days to go in the campaign, the pace of early voting could lead to the highest voter turnout rate in more than a century, according to data from the US Elections Project. Trump has regularly condemned mail-in voting without evidence as prone to fraud, even though experts say it is as safe as any other method. The large number of early voters is a sign of the intense interest in this year's election, as well as concerns about avoiding crowded polling places on Election Day and reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. In Pennsylvania, polls show Biden narrowly leading. A Reuters/Ipsos survey released earlier this week showed Biden with a four-percentage point advantage over Trump in the state, down from seven points the week before. Apart from the coronavirus, the candidates sparred over energy policy, an important issue in Pennsylvania which is the nation's second-largest producer of natural gas after Texas. Biden denied Trump accusations that he plans to ban fracking, a process to extract natural gas from shale. "I will not ban fracking, period," he said in Dallas, Pennsylvania at his second rally of the day. "I don't think big oil companies need a handout from the federal government. We're gonna get rid of the US$40 billion fossil fuel subsidies, and we're going to invest it in clean energy and carbon capture," Biden said. At an outdoor, in-person Trump rally in Circleville, Ohio, the crowd booed at a video Trump played showing various times when Biden said he would like to move away from fossil fuels. Biden got some help from former President Barack Obama, who held a drive-in rally in Miami and delivered a blistering attack on Trump's leadership. "This pandemic would've been tough for any president because we haven't seen something like this in 100 years, but the idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is nonsense," Obama said. 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Malaysian opposition politicians condemn possible emergency measures amid speculation - CNA
KUALA LUMPUR: As rumours swirl of a possible state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, opposition politicians have cried foul over such measures.
KUALA LUMPUR: As rumours swirl of a possible state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, opposition politicians have cried foul over such measures. Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep concern on reports that the Malaysian government, led by Mr Muhyiddin Yassin, is seeking to implement emergency measures which he said would curb the parliamentary process. Advertisement Advertisement "Today, we have a government which lacks legitimacy, and which knows it would fail to demonstrate majority support in parliament, and is using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to justify its abuse of power," the opposition leader said in a press statement on Friday (Oct 23). Mr Anwar, who leads the Pakatan Harapan (PH) bloc in parliament against Mr Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, strongly advised the latter to consider the legacy of his actions. He said while the rest of Asia was looking for ways to manage the virus and reopen their economies, Malaysia was heading in the opposite direction. Earlier on Friday, Mr Muhyiddin had chaired a special Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya. Following that, he sought an audience with King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at the latter's palace in Kuantan, Pahang. Advertisement Advertisement Speculation was rife that he was there to convey the Cabinet's decision to implement an emergency in Malaysia amid widespread COVID-19 infections and political instability. COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have surged to 24,514, with 710 new cases and 10 deaths reported on Friday. There are currently 8,416 active cases in treatment. Describing the state of emergency as "undemocratic means" to stay in power, Mr Anwar, who had claimed he has a convincing majority to take over the government, said what was needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic was transparency, accountability and firm action from the various government ministries. Mr Mohamad Sabu, the leader of PH component Parti Amanah Negara, said in a separate statement that there were already laws which could be used to fight the pandemic effectively, without needing to declare a nationwide emergency. Advertisement Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram