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Coronavirus

Malaysia’s new PM says he will invite opposition to join COVID-19 effort

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Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Sunday he will invite opposition leaders to join the government’s special committees to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Ismail Sabri took charge on Saturday with a slim parliamentary majority as the Southeast Asian nation battles its worst COVID-19 surge and public anger grows over mismanagement of the pandemic.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

The 61-year-old was deputy premier in the administration of Muhyiddin Yassin, which collapsed on Monday due to coalition infighting - the second government to fall since general elections in 2018.

In a televised address, Ismail Sabri said he will invite the leadership of the opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on COVID-19.

“I understand that the political turmoil that has besieged the country have distressed the public. Therefore, it is imperative that political stability is swiftly achieved through togetherness, and this includes cross-party cooperation,” he said.

The new premier also said he will enhance the previous government’s COVID-19 strategy. He was a key minister in charge of framing Malaysia’s pandemic response under the Muhyiddin administration.

Malaysia’s infections and deaths are southeast Asia’s highest relative to population.

Read more:

Malaysia's new PM faces challenge of uniting polarized society

Malaysia's king picks ex-deputy PM Ismail Sabri Yakoob as nation's new leader