Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia PM wins crucial victory




Malaysia PM wins crucial victory

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Analysts had warned that defeat in eastern Sabah State for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could have meant the end of his fractious coalition government, which came to power without an election in March. AFP

Malaysia PM wins crucial victory

Malaysia's embattled prime minster on Saturday passed his biggest political test since taking office with a narrow victory in key State elections, which could help strengthen his tenuous hold on power.

Analysts had warned that defeat in eastern Sabah State for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could have meant the end of his fractious coalition government, which came to power without an election in March.

Adding to his problems, the vote came just days after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim launched a bid to topple Muhyiddin’s administration, claiming he had mustered enough support from members of Parliament (MPs) to take over.

Malaysia has been gripped by political turmoil since the collapse in February of a reformist government, which was headed by Mahathir Mohamad and included Anwar, amid bitter infighting.

Muhyiddin seized power as the head of a coalition backed by the scandal-plagued Umno party, which critics accuse of lacking legitimacy, and his administration has only a wafer-thin majority in parliament.

The elections in Sabah on Borneo island were 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.

After a hard-fought campaign, a coalition of parties backing the national government won 38 out of 73 seats in the legislature, with the opposition taking 32, and the rest going to independents.

Muhyiddin hailed the win in a televised address, saying it “shows that the people in Sabah have confidence in all the candidates that we put forward”.

While the outcome does not directly affect the balance of power at the national level, it was a key test of Muhyiddin’s popularity.

If he had done poorly, coalition partners may have withdrawn their support from his government and forced a snap national poll.

But Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia expert from the University of Nottingham, warned his troubles were far from over.

“He passed the first major electoral test, but barely. He remains a man on borrowed time,” she said.

Anwar’s power play has added to pressure on Muhyiddin but does not appear to have gained traction for now.

He has refused to reveal the number of MPs backing him while the king, who appoints the country’s premier, has postponed an appointment to see him due to ill health.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to