Malaysia will maintain an election after the coronavirus ends: PM By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin poses for a picture in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur

By Joseph Sipalan

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia will hold general elections when the novel coronavirus pandemic is over, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Saturday shortly after averting a showdown by winning parliamentary support for his government’s budget.

Parliament on Thursday passed the largest budget ever by vote, despite weeks of threats from the opposition and some of Muhyiddin’s allies to derail the government’s spending plan for 2021, which could have sparked a crisis.

“When COVID-19 is over, God willing, we will hold general elections,” said Muhyiddin in a speech at a virtual annual general meeting of his Bersatu party.

“We’ll give the mandate back to the people and leave it to them to decide which government they want.”

Muhyiddin’s eight-month-old government has held a two-seat majority in parliament and has managed to stave off a leadership challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and contain growing disagreements in the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the largest bloc in his country’s coalition.

Muhyiddin said he met UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi this week and they agreed to improve relations between their parties and avoid running against each other in an election.

“I know that people are fed up with infinite politics. People want the political leaders to help them and not constantly fight for power,” said Muhyiddin.

Malaysia is facing a new wave of coronavirus infections. The accumulated cases have more than quadrupled since September and are more than 60,000 since Friday.

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