Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysians stage anti-gov’t protest despite Covid curbs



Malaysians stage anti-gov’t protest despite Covid curbs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Anger is growing at the Malaysian government’s handling of the virus. AFP

Malaysians stage anti-gov’t protest despite Covid curbs

Hundreds of black-clad Malaysians staged an anti-government protest on July 31 in defiance of a ban on public gatherings under coronavirus curbs, piling pressure on the embattled prime minister to resign.

The mostly young protesters, wearing masks and keeping a distance from one another, waved banners reading “failed government” as well as black flags.

It was the first sizeable demonstration in Malaysia for some time, as many had been reluctant to take to the streets due to virus curbs and for fear of getting infected.

But anger is growing at the government’s handling of a virus outbreak – which is escalating despite a lockdown – and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s attempts to keep his crisis-riven administration in power.

“We fight because while the people are suffering, this government is busy playing politics,” Karmun Loh, taking part in the protest in downtown Kuala Lumpur, told AFP.

“This government is … crippling the economy and also destroying our country’s democracy.”

Muhyiddin “is a terrible prime minister”, added demonstrator Shaq Koyok.

“He needs to step down.”

There was a heavy police presence and officers blocked attempts by protesters to enter a central square before the rally peacefully dispersed.

Organisers said about 1,000 demonstrators took part but police put the number at around 400.

Police told local media that the protesters will be called in for questioning as they had violated the ban on gatherings.

Muhyiddin took power at the head of a scandal-plagued coalition last year without an election following the demise of a reformist administration headed by Mahathir Mohamad.

But his government is on the verge of collapse after allies withdrew support.

He came under renewed pressure to step down last week after parliament convened following a months-long suspension as part of a virus state of emergency.

His government was accused of dodging a vote that would have tested its majority – infuriating rival members of Parliament and drawing a rare rebuke from the country’s revered king.

Muhyiddin faced fresh criticism when officials announced August 2’s parliament session, the final day of the five-day sitting, had been postponed after several virus cases were detected in the legislature.

“The spread of Covid-19 cannot and should not be used as an excuse to adjourn … the parliament sitting,” the “Pact of Hope” opposition coalition said in a statement.

August 1 is the final day of the six-month state of emergency but the nationwide lockdown will remain in place.

Malaysia’s outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant, and health officials logged a new daily record of 17,786 cases on July 31.

Authorities have reported over 1.1 million virus cases and more than 9,000 deaths.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.