Al Jazeera English Malaysia
Al Jazeera English
Hong Kong protests: US warns banks they could face sanctions - Al Jazeera English
The US told banks they could face sanctions for doing business with individuals involved in the crackdown on Hong Kong.
The United States Department of State on Wednesday formally warned international financial institutions doing business with individuals deemed responsible for Chinas crackdown in Hong Kong that they could soon face sanctions. In a report to Congress seen by Reuters, the State Department named 10 individuals all of whom have already been sanctioned, including Hong Kongs Chief Executive Carrie Lam and said within 60 days it would identify financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with them. It was the latest US response to Chinas actions in Hong Kong, including the enactment of a new national security law this year that Washington has called an unacceptable contravention of Chinas one country, two systems commitments toward the former British colony. The State Department report, required under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, comes at a time when relations between the US and China, the worlds two biggest economies, have plunged to the lowest point in decades in the run-up to US President Donald Trumps November 3 re-election bid. In August, Washington imposed sanctions on Lam and other senior security and political officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in a crackdown on the territorys pro-democracy movement. Wednesdays State Department report did not add any new individuals to the list nor did it name any banks or other financial institutions that might be at risk for sanctions. The US Hong Kong Autonomy Act that Trump signed into law on July 14 required the State Department to list those people deemed responsible for communist-ruled Chinas failure to meet its obligations towards Hong Kong within 90 days, which makes them liable for sanctions. It also requires a list of any financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant financial transactions with such persons 60 days after that. It allows the US president to impose sanctions on individuals as soon as they are named and calls for sanctions on the financial institutions no later than a year after they are named. Senior US and United Kingdom politicians have criticised HSBC and Standard Chartered after the banks backed Chinas national security law for the territory.
Malaysian palace postpones meetings with Anwar Ibrahim allies - Al Jazeera English
The delay in meetings follows the opposition leader’s claim that he has enough support to become prime minister.
Malaysias national palace has postponed audiences with the king for the allies of opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, senior opposition leaders said on Wednesday, amid a fresh tussle for power in the Southeast Asian nation. Anwar met King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Tuesday, providing him with evidence to back up his claim about having enough support in parliament to form a new government and replace incumbent Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who took the post in March. In a statement, the leaders of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Amanah said they had initially been summoned for separate audiences with the king. Both the DAP and Amanah are in an alliance with Anwars party. However, last night His Majestys senior private secretary informed us that both sessions with His Majesty have been postponed, read the statement, signed by DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and Amanah President Mohamad Sabu. They did not say whether the palace had set new dates for a meeting. Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had a meeting with the king on Monday [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters] At a news conference on Monday, Anwar said he had presented documents to the king to prove he had the support of more than 120 MPs in the 222-seat parliament. The palace later said in a statement that while Anwar had submitted the number of legislators that he said supported him, he had not revealed the identities of his supporters. The king plays a largely ceremonial role in Malaysia but he can appoint a prime minister who in his view is likely to command a majority. New governments are usually elected in Malaysia but the king plays a role in certain instances. Earlier this year, the king appointed Muhyiddin as prime minister after a power grab led to the collapse of the coalition that was elected in May 2018 and the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. After interviewing each member of parliament the king said that he believed Muhyiddin was the candidate with the confidence of the house. Critics say Muhyiddin, who has only a two-seat majority, had stolen power because there was no election.
Thai protesters clash with police, shout at king’s motorcade - Al Jazeera English
Demonstrators show unprecedented open dissent towards monarchy as pro-democracy activists plan another rally.
Hundreds of Thai protesters scuffled with police throwing blue paint at officers and shouted at the royal motorcade of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, after 21 demonstrators were arrested ahead of new round of anti-government demonstrations on Wednesday. The crowd chanted, Release our friends! as the kings car swept past in a display of dissent towards the monarchy that has no recent precedent in Thailand. Among those taken away during Tuesdays protests were Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, a protest leader, and Chaiamorn Kaewwiboonpan, a singer. People who were detained would be charged appropriately, police said. The protesters may not have observed the law today, so police had to act to bring order and didnt act disproportionately, government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri told the Reuters News Agency. The protests, which have persisted for three months, present the biggest challenge in years to a political establishment dominated by the army and the palace. Protesters are calling for a new constitution and the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former military government leader. They have also called for curbs on the powers of the monarchy, breaking a long-standing taboo against criticising the royal family, which many people still revere. The palace has not responded to requests for comment on the protests or demands for royal reform. In a sign of the monarchs continuing popularity among many Thais, the king and queen left the palace late on Tuesday, smiling broadly as they greeted thousands of cheering supporters who waited in the rain on the anniversary of the death of the former king. My lawyer colleague from @TLHR2014 is not allowed to enter into the Border Patrol Police Region 1 in Pathum Thani, where the 21 arrested activists are detained. Reportedly, some of them are physically injured by police forcibly arrested them #14#whatshappeninginthailandhttps://t.co/0n0ghxRgWQ June Sirikan (@JCharoensiri) October 13, 2020 Earlier in the day, hours before the royal motorcade was due to pass Bangkoks Democracy Monument, protesters had pushed up against a police line and some threw blue paint. Police demolished a tent set up for the protest and dragged some demonstrators into police vehicles. After the trouble, the royal motorcade passed by on the other side of the street. Protesters raised their hands in the three-fingered salute adopted by anti-government campaigners and demanded the release of those detained. This is the ugliness of feudalism, where one person can do anything and the majority of the people have to accept it unconditionally, Parit Penguin Chirawat, a student leader, said on Twitter. The top trending hashtag on the social media platform in Thailand, used more than 1.5 million times, insulted the king. Thailands King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida greet royalist supporters who gathered outside the Grand Palace to mark the 4th anniversary of late King Bhumibol Adulyadejs death, in Bangkok [Jorge Silva/Reuters] Insults to the monarchy are punishable by up to 15 years in prison under Thailands lese majeste laws, but the prime minister said earlier this year that the king requested that they not be used for now. Protesters have said they do not seek the abolition of the monarchy, but to reduce the kings powers under the constitution and to reverse an order to put the palace fortune and some army units under his control. The monarchy has to be under the constitution, that is how it supposed to be, said 21-year-old protester Waranya Siripanya. In the evening, the demonstrators moved to the police station where the detainees were being held, pressing against the gates to demand their release. Pro-democracy activist Parit Penguin Chiwarak, (centre), leads a group of protesters in Bangkok on Tuesday night to protest the arrest of other demonstrators at an earlier rally [Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP] Tuesday was a public holiday to mark four years since the death of the kings widely respected father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years. Vajiralongkorn, who spends most of his time in Germany, made a rare visit to Thailand for the occasion. Thousands of royalists gathered to pay their respects, bearing the late kings picture and flowers and wearing yellow shirts, the colour associated with him. Many royalists were critical of the protesters. They may have been taught and told that the monarchy doesnt have any value to the nation, said Narongsak Poomsisa-ard, 67. But I want to remind them that our nation exists until today, because we have the strong institution.
Moon rising: 8 nations sign lunar settlements, exploration pact - Aljazeera.com
Eight countries have signed a pact to govern lunar exploration, including human settlements on the moon’s surface.
Eight countries have signed an international pact for moon exploration called the Artemis Accords, NASA announced on Tuesday, a win for the US space agency as it works to shape standards for building long-term settlements on the lunar surface. The accords, named after NASAs Artemis moon programme, seek to build on existing international space law by establishing safety zones that would surround future moon bases to prevent conflict between states operating there, and by allowing private companies to own the lunar resources they mine. The United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates signed the bilateral agreements during an annual space conference on Tuesday following months of talks. The US is working to cultivate allies for its plan to return astronauts to the moon by 2024. What were trying to do is establish norms of behaviour that every nation can agree to, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters. He said the accords are consistent with a 1967 treaty holding that the moon and other celestial bodies are exempt from national claims of ownership. We are operationalising the Outer Space Treaty for the purposes of creating the broadest, most inclusive, largest coalition of human spaceflight in the history of humankind, Bridenstine said. The Trump administration and governments of other spacefaring countries see the moon as a strategic asset. The moon also has value for long-term scientific research that could enable future missions to Mars activities that fall under a regime of international space law widely viewed as outdated. In 2019, US Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return humans to the moon by 2024 cutting the agencys previous timeline in half and build a long-term human presence on the lunar surface. The NASA programme, expected to cost tens of billions of dollars, will send robotic rovers to the surface of the moon before an eventual human landing. NASA also plans to build a Lunar Gateway, a space station orbiting the moon. Plans call for it to be constructed by a mix of NASA contractors and international partners.
Timeline: Is it finally time for Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim? - Al Jazeera English
Anwar Ibrahim rose to deputy prime minister before he was sacked in 1998 and re-emerged as a figurehead for reform.
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he has enough support in parliament to form a government and become the countrys prime minister. Anwar, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister who spent almost 10 years in jail after falling from power in the late 1990s, met Malaysias king on Tuesday for an hour. He told a news conference afterwards that he had the support of more than 120 lawmakers in the 222-strong parliament. The announcement comes amid a turbulent year for Malaysia, which saw the Pakatan Harapan coalition that won an historic election in May 2018 collapse in February after some disgruntled members joined forces with the opposition. Anwar, who was Malaysias prime minister-in-waiting for a second time, accused the then party of then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and traitors in his own camp of planning to bring down the government. Anwar has been in politics since emerging as a fiery student activist in the 1970s and his alliance turned rivalry with Mahathir has dominated Malaysian politics for years. The rivalry between Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim has dominated Malaysian politics for decades [File: Krish Balakrishnan/Department of Information via AFP] Here are some key dates: August 10, 1947 Anwar Ibrahim is born in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. Both his parents are UMNO politicians. 1971 Anwar founds the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, known by its Malay acronym ABIM. 1982 Having been convinced to join UMNO, Anwar is elected to parliament for the first time, representing the constituency of Permatang Pauh in his home state of Penang. 1983 Anwar becomes minister of youth and sports, and under Mahathirs tutelage is promoted first to education minister (1986), and then to minister of finance (1991) and deputy prime minister (1993). 1998 Months of feuding with Mahathir over Malaysias handling of the Asian financial crisis culminates in Anwar being sacked and accused of sodomy a crime in Malaysia and corruption. Tens of thousands take to the streets in support of Anwar who secures support from large numbers of Malay Muslims, the largest ethnic group in the multicultural country, to drive his Reformasi movement. 1999 Anwar builds on the momentum for reform to found the Parti Keadilan Nasional or National Justice Party (KEADILAN) a forerunner of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), or the Peoples Justice Party. Separately, Anwar is convicted and jailed on charges he maintains were politically motivated. 2003 Mahathir steps down after 22 years as prime minister. 2004-13 Four years after his 2004 release, Anwar is again accused of sodomy by a male aide. Anwar says the accusations are aimed at removing him from his post as leader of the opposition, which came close to defeating Najib Razak another Mahathir protege in the disputed 2013 election. 2015 Anwar is jailed for sodomy for a second time. 2016-17 Mahathir quits UMNO amid calls for Najib to resign over a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at state fund 1MDB. Mahathir forms a new party, Bersatu, before joining forces with Anwars opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH). He promises to seek a royal pardon for Anwar and hand him the premiership if the coalition succeeds in its bid to remove Najib and the UMNO-led government. 2018 Anwar and Mahathir join forces to lead the opposition to an unprecedented victory in the election on May 9, ending more than 60 years of UMNO rule. Within a week, Anwar is pardoned and released. 2019 Anwar denies accusations of having sexually assaulted a former male aide, describing the claims as politics at its worst. The case is dropped on grounds of insufficient evidence. 2020 Mahathir faces pressure from Anwars allies in the coalition to set a date for the handover of power, sources said. Senior politicians from Pakatan and the losing opposition parties meet at a five-star hotel on February 23 in what becomes known as the Sheraton move. Anwar blames our former friends in Mahathirs Bersatu and a small faction of traitors from his own party. February 24 Mahathir resigns as prime minister. March 1 The king appoints Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister after meeting every member of parliament to canvas levels of support. September 23 Anwar says he has enough support in parliament to become prime minister and urges Muhyiddin to resign. October 13 Anwar meets the king and says he has shared evidence of his support with the monarch. He says he has a formidable majority and that Muhyiddin should step down.
Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim meets king in challenge for leadership - Al Jazeera English
Anwar says he has necessary support as government battles public anger over resurgence of COVID-19.
Malaysias opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim met the Southeast Asian nations king on Tuesday morning in an attempt to prove he has the parliamentary support needed to replace Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who took power in March. Anwar added a fresh twist to the countrys political drama last month after he declared that he had secured a strong majority from federal politicians to form a new government. The renewed struggle for power comes as Malaysia faces a new wave of coronavirus cases that have prompted the authorities to impose a two-week lockdown in Kuala Lumpur and the neighbouring state of Selangor, the countrys richest state, with effect from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday. Should Anwar succeed in securing the post, it would be the culmination of a decades-long quest, during which he spent nearly 10 years in jail. He would also become Malaysias third prime minister this year. Muhyiddin emerged as leader in March after a week of political turmoil when several disgruntled members of the then-ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition joined forces with parties that had lost power in 2018. The move led to the resignation of 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister and scuppered a promise that Anwar would become prime minister two years after the Harapan victory. No main party has offered a clear declaration of support for Anwar although one party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, has said some of its MPs support him. Should the meeting fail to translate into an actionable outcome, his credibility will be affected and this may push the opposition bloc to find another PM candidate, Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, senior associate at political consultancy Vriens & Part the Reuters news agency. King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah plays a largely ceremonial role but he can appoint a prime minister who in his view is likely to command a majority in parliament. He also has the power to dissolve parliament and trigger elections on the premiers advice. It was not clear whether the outcome of the meeting would be known on Tuesday. Local media reported Anwars car arrived at the palace at about 10.25am (02:25 GMT). He left after about an hour, smiling and waving to supporters and the media who had gathered at the palace gates. He is expected to hold a press conference at 2pm (06:00 GMT). On Monday, police said they had opened an investigation into Anwars claim of a majority, after a list of his alleged backers spread on social media. Muhyiddin, who was previously part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, is under pressure over his administrations handling of COVID-19. The country had largely brought the virus to heel, but an attempt to topple the Pakatan-friendly government in the state of Sabah coincided with an outbreak of the virus in the Borneo state, Malaysias poorest. If you are not angry at the recent declaration to impose #CMCO in the Klang Valley, you are either privileged (T20, etc) or not paying attention. #PKPB The harm that this will cause beyond the disease itself. I really dont know what to say. Azrul Mohd Khalib (@azrulmohdkhalib) October 12, 2020 The MCO was supposed to buy us time to prepare the health care system for future outbreaks, NOT to eradicate the virus. What did we do for the past 6 months since MCO in March? Are you saying we didnt prepare enough? Boo Su-Lyn (@boosulyn) October 12, 2020 After an election was called to resolve the issue, politicians and campaign staff travelled back and forth between Borneo and the peninsula and sometimes did not follow the protocols on mask wearing and social distancing. Officials said those returning to Kuala Lumpur from Sabah would also not be required to go into quarantine if they tested negative when arriving at the airport, despite strict centralised quarantines for all arrivals from overseas. The virus has now spread across Sabah and seeded outbreaks in every state in the country. Politicians, including Malaysias religious affairs minister and Sabahs new chief minister, have been among those diagnosed with COVID-19. The entire cabinet is currently in the midst of a 14-day isolation period. News of the movement restrictions, known as a CMCO in Malaysia, prompted big queues at some supermarkets in the capital and its neighbouring suburbs [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters] There were 563 new cases reported on Monday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 16,220. The decision to impose a lockdown in Kuala Lumpur was greeted with anger by many residents who questioned the need for such a broad-based response. Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director-general of the health ministry, said the move reflected not only the actual number of cases in an area but the pattern of transmission. If the transmission of the infection has spread to every district throughout the state and records new cases every day, it means transmission can no longer be effectively curbed, he wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning.
Malaysia Airlines parent tells lessors it is low on cash: Report - Aljazeera.com
Carrier says it told plane lessors, creditors and suppliers that it is undertaking an urgent restructuring exercise.
Malaysia Aviation Group, the holding company for Malaysia Airlines Berhad, said in a letter to lessors the group is unlikely to be able to make payments owed after November unless it receives more funding from state fund Khazanah. The letter, reviewed by the Reuters news agency, follows a request by the troubled carrier for steep discounts on aircraft rentals from its lessors as part of a broad restructuring plan, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. Malaysia Airlines later confirmed in a statement on Friday it had reached out to its lessors, creditors and key suppliers recently as it embarks on an urgent restructuring exercise. According to the letter, the aviation group was experiencing an average monthly operating cash burn of $84m but only had $88m in liquidity as of August 31 and an additional $139m available from Khazanah, its sole shareholder. Based on the current run-rate, absent further funding from shareholders, the group will likely be unable to meet its obligations, including payments to lessors, post November 2020, it said. The letter was sent to lessors last month but the exact date was not immediately clear. Khazanah, the countrys sovereign wealth fund, said it was supportive of the airlines restructuring efforts but if they prove unsuccessful, it will need to evaluate options on how to maintain connectivity for Malaysia. Malaysias national airline has struggled to recover from two tragedies in 2014 the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Khazanah took the carrier private that year as part of a $1.5bn restructuring programme but efforts to turn its business around have been further upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Malaysia Airlines said its current plan was highly dependent on the individual contributions of all relevant stakeholders in supporting the group. It is intended that this restructuring exercise be completed over the next few months. However, if such an outcome is not possible, the group will have no choice but to take more drastic measures, it said. Sources told Reuters that Malaysia Airlines plans to negotiate the steep discounts with its lessors via a restructuring plan it is seeking to implement through a court process in the United Kingdom. The sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. In addition to Malaysia Airlines, the holding company group includes other local carriers and entities involved in aircraft leasing and ground handling services.
US bans palm oil imports from Malaysian producer FGV - Al Jazeera English
US customs agency ban follows probe into forced labour allegations; FGV says it upholds labour standards.
The United States has banned imports of palm oil from Malaysian company FGV Holdings following an investigation into allegations it uses forced labour, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said. FGV, one of the worlds largest crude palm oil producers, and some other suppliers of the oil used in everything from food and cosmetics to biodiesel have long faced allegations from rights groups over labour and human rights abuses. In response, FGV said it is fully committed to respecting human rights and to upholding labour standards. The US agency said the ban was the result of a year-long investigation that revealed signs of forced labour such as abuse of the vulnerable, deception, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, and retention of identity documents. The investigation also raised concerns that forced child labour was potentially being used in FGVs production processes, CBP said in a statement, adding that the ban would come into effect immediately. The use of forced labour in the production of such a ubiquitous product allows companies to profit from the abuse of vulnerable workers, said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBPs trade office. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two biggest producers of palm oil and the industry has also been blamed for deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. Smith said CBP had received allegations around the broader palm oil industry and asked US importers to look into the labour practices of their suppliers. I cant be more specific at this point but I would suggest that US importers doing business with palm oil producers take a look at their supply chain and ask a lot of questions around the labour practices, she said. In a statement to Al Jazeera, FGV said it has taken concrete steps over the past several years to improve its labour practices. The company said its migrant workers, mostly from Indonesia and India, are briefed on the terms of their employment, job scope and their rights and responsibilities before they leave their home countries and upon arrival in Malaysia. It also said it pays its workers at the very least, minimum wage under Malaysian law, and has spent 350 million Malaysian ringgit ($84.4m) over the last three years upgrading housing facilities for its plantation staff. FGV also denied it retains its workers passports, adding that it has installed 32,350 safety boxes for its staff to store their documents. The CBPs Smith said US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, which has a joint venture with FGV, should take the ban seriously if it is an importer of its palm oil products. Procter & Gamble did not immediately respond to the Reuters news agency for requests for comment. The CBP ban comes after rights groups called on US authorities last year to investigate FGV over concerns about forced labour and human trafficking on its plantations. About 80 percent of palm plantation workers in Malaysia, or some 337,000 workers, are migrants from countries including Indonesia, India and Bangladesh. Anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared submitted a petition to CBP in April against another Malaysian palm oil producer, Sime Darby Plantation, over alleged labour abuse. The company said in July it had asked the rights group for more information and that it would swiftly address any breaches following a thorough investigation.
Sabah election: Malaysia’s Muhyiddin faces key test in state poll - Al Jazeera English
A defeat for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s allies in Sabah state could increase pressure for snap national polls.
Ballot counting is under way in Malaysias eastern Sabah state, in a vote seen as a referendum for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassins seven-month-old unelected government. The outcome of Saturdays state election will not directly alter the balance of power at a national level, where Muhyiddins coalition commands a razor-thin majority, but serves as a key test of popularity of the prime minister some six months after taking office. Results are expected later on Saturday. A defeat for Muhyiddins allies could erode support among his coalition partners and increase pressure for snap national polls, according to Al Jazeeras Florence Looi. Theres a lot at stake in these elections, Looi said, reporting from the state capital, Kota Kinabalu. This is the first test for Muhyiddin since he took power in a political coup. There are calls even within his coalition for snap elections to secure a stronger mandate. Now, a general election is not due until 2023 but the results of this vote could have an impact on when the next parliamentary election will be called. Adding to the stakes, Looi noted, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim declared on Wednesday that he has secured majority support in the national parliament to remove Muhyiddin and form a new government. Anwars challenge has underlined just how fragile the support for the prime minister is, even within his own coalition, said Looi. Malaysia has been gripped by turmoil since February, when a reformist government headed by Mahathir Mohamad, and including Anwar, collapsed amid bitter infighting. Muhyiddin defected from the reformist government and seized power to form a new Malay-centric administration. His alliance has since taken control of many states with many legislators defecting to his camp. The opposition now controls only Sabah and two of the countrys richest states, Selangor and Penang. Saturdays election in Sabah was called after a Muhyiddin ally launched a bid to take over the opposition-controlled local government. But rather than cede power, the chief minister dissolved the state assembly. Loose coalitions are backing the government and the opposition, but analysts say the vote is too close to call. A win will strengthen Muhyiddins position but a loss will embolden Anwars attempt to reclaim power, Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, told The Associated Press news agency. Shafie Apdal (C), president of the Sabah Heritage Party, cast his ballot at a polling station in Semporna [AFP] Anwar, who claims to have won majority support, including from legislators in Muhyiddins camp, has not revealed details as he is waiting to meet Malaysias king, who is in hospital for treatment. The king has the power to appoint a new prime minister or dissolve parliament for early general elections. Muhyiddin has said Anwars declaration is a mere allegation until he provides evidence. Bridget Welsh, honourary research Associate at the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia, said the election was Muhyiddins first major test. If he fails, hell be on borrowed time, she told Al Jazeera. His leadership is already getting challenged from within and I think he is actually going to face a real struggle to maintain his position as prime minister. The only silver lining for him is his party may survive and that may allow him and his party to continue in politics but I think as prime minister hes already on borrowed time and a loss will actually make it much worse for him. The prime minister has campaigned heavily in Sabah, pledging development, and billboards of his smiling face, dubbed Abah or father, are prominent in many constituencies. In contrast, former Sabah leader Shafie Apdal urged the states multiple Indigenous groups to reject Muhyiddins Muslim government and unite behind him. Sabah and neighbouring Sarawak on Borneo island are seen as crucial for political leverage as they hold about a quarter of parliamentary seats. The two states are rich in oil and timber but among the poorest in Malaysia. They have a greater level of autonomy in administration, immigration and judiciary. The Sabah election is heavily contested with 447 candidates vying for 73 state seats. More than a million voters, many in rural areas, are eligible to cast their ballots. With coronavirus cases rising in the state in recent weeks, election officials have tightened rules with health screening and other strict precautions.
Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim says has majority to form new government - Aljazeera.com
Country’s opposition leader says he is ready to take power from Muhyiddin Yassin who took office in March.
Malaysias opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Wednesday he had secured a strong majority from lawmakers to form a new government, seven months after a power grab within the ruling coalition brought down the administration elected in May 2018. Anwar said he had been approached by a number of MPs from various parties who were unhappy with the existing leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Sitting next to his wife, Anwar told a news conference his support from lawmakers means that the administration of Muhyiddin has fallen and insisted that his government had the mandate of the people. He declined to reveal the numbers backing him, but said he would do so after seeking an audience with the king, who is currently receiving treatment at the national heart hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Muhyiddin emerged as Malaysias prime minister in March after a week of political turmoil when several disgruntled members of the then-ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition joined forces with parties that had lost power in 2018. The move led to the resignation of 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim insisted to BFM News, this is not the same as the Sheraton Move, as the MPs had obtained the peoples mandate in an election. This press conference held at Le Meridien hotel by Anwars faction, comes 7 months after Langkah Sheraton pic.twitter.com/7QLlLJ1dUM BFM News (@NewsBFM) September 23, 2020 Anwar said Muhyiddins government, and its 70 ministers, had spent too much time distributing positions, appointments and contracts in order to cling to (an) extremely bare and razor-thin majority. Even within the opposition ranks, Anwars support does not seem assured. Local media reported that while Amanah, an Islamic party, was backing Anwar, Mahathirs new party was not. Senior politicians in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which returned to power with Muhyiddin, described Anwars move as a gimmick while former ally turned rival Mohamed Azmin Ali, who led the power grab that ended Pakatan Harapans administration and is now Minister of International Trade and Industry, tweeted: Incorrigible liar and political psychopath. Bridget Welsh, an honorary research associate at the University of Nottinghams Asia Research Institute and an expert on Malaysian politics, said right now the situation was a war of words and Anwar would need to show the numbers. Campaigning is currently underway in Malaysias Borneo state of Sabah where Muhyiddins coalition is hoping to wrest control of the state government from an administration friendly to the opposition. The state has also emerged as a new hotspot for the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, with people confirmed to have the virus told they will not be able to vote. The people of Malaysia deserve leadership which can navigate effectively during these turbulent times, Anwar said in a statement. Instead we have an unstable government whose inability to handle the crisis is driving the country towards an economic recession and rising racial tension.