Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics in Malaysia

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and affected the political system of Malaysia, causing suspensions of legislative activities and isolation of multiple politicians due to fears of spreading the virus. The onset of the pandemic coincided with a political crisis in early 2020 which continued into 2021 as the spread of COVID-19 and emergency government measures exacerbated initially unrelated political instability, culminating in the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet in August 2021. Numerous elections have been postponed or suspended, after the 2020 Sabah state election was blamed for a major outbreak in the state that led to the country's third wave. Several politicians have tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

Contents

General election and government formation

A political crisis in Malaysia coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. [1] The Pakatan Harapan coalition government collapsed, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and eventual replacement with Muhyiddin Yassin and a new Perikatan Nasional coalition, which maintained a small majority. Prime Minister Muhyiddin blamed the 2020 Sabah state election for a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases across the state and country. [2]

In June 2021, the rulers of Malaysia declared that there is no need to extend a state of emergency after 1 August, and parliament should be reopen as soon as possible. [3] The emergency has led to the suspension of all federal parliament and state assembly sittings and also by-elections, among other things, therefore by-elections will need to be elect after 1 August in Sarawak (assembly), Batu Sapi (federal seat), Gerik (federal seat), Bugaya (Sabah state seat) and Melor (Kelantan state seat). [4]

Restriction announcements

A large outbreak at a Tablighi Jamaat religious event and spread of the virus across the country thought to have been exacerbated by the political instability, [5] which newly appointed Health Minister Adham Baba used to criticize his predecessor Dzulkefly Ahmad, despite the absence of a clear government responsible at the time of the event. [6] [7] Shortly after a thin government majority was established, the new government announced the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) to curb the spread of the virus. [1]

Amid ongoing political instability, Yang di-Pertuan Agong warned politicians in May 2020 that he "would like to advise against dragging the country once again into a political mess that brings uncertainties" given the ongoing health crisis in the country. [8] In January 2021, a State of Emergency was declared, suspending all elections and parliament, and the government were empowered to pass laws without oversight in response to the pandemic and ongoing political instability. [9] This led to the resignation of MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub from the party, resulting in the loss of the government's required majority of at least 111 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat. [10] Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim criticised the declaration, saying this was an effort for the government to maintain power and that 115 other MPs were against it. [11]

Instances of isolation and testing

On 17 March 2020, Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (Bandar Kuching member of parliament) tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined at Sarawak General Hospital. He was suspected of having been infected with the virus after meeting Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu who was also tested positive for the virus. [12] He was announced to have recovered on 23 March 2020. [13] Another MP which is Chong Chieng Jen (Stampin member of parliament) tested negative. [14]

List of assemblymen who tested positive for COVID-19

Dewan Negara (Senators)

Dewan Negara

Dewan Rakyat (Members of Parliament)

Dewan Rakyat

Dewan Undangan Negeri (Malaysian State Assembly Representatives)

StateNo.Parliamentary
Constituency
No.State Assembly ConstituencyMemberParty
Flag of Perlis.svg  Perlis P02 Kangar N8 Indera Kayangan Gan Ay LingPKR
Flag of Kedah.svg  Kedah P17 Padang Serai N34 Lunas Azman Nasruddin BERSATU
Flag of Kelantan.svg  Kelantan P30 Jeli N37 Air Lanas Mustapa Mohamed BERSATU
P32 Gua Musang N43 Nenggiri Ab. Aziz YusoffUMNO
N45 Galas Mohd. Syahbuddin HashimUMNO
Flag of Terengganu.svg  Terengganu P40 Kemaman N30 Kijal Ahmad Said UMNO
Flag of Pahang.svg  Pahang P81 Jerantut N9 Tahan Mohd Zakhwan Ahmad BadarddinPAS
P89 Bentong N35 Sabai Kamache Doray RajooDAP
Flag of Selangor.svg  Selangor P97 Selayang N14 Rawang Chua Wei KiatPKR
P105 Petaling Jaya N33 Taman Medan Syamsul Firdaus Mohamed SupriPKR
P106 Damansara N35 Kampung Tunku Lim Yi Wei DAP
P107 Sungai Buloh N39 Kota Damansara Shatiri MansorPKR
P113 Sepang N55 Dengkil Adhif Syan AbdullahBERSATU
Flag of Negeri Sembilan.svg  Negeri Sembilan P132 Port Dickson N33 Sri Tanjong Ravi MunasamyPKR
Flag of Malacca.svg  Malacca P134 Masjid Tanah N3 Ayer Limau Amiruddin YusopUMNO
Flag of Johor.svg  Johor P142 Labis N5 Tenang Mohd. Solihan BadriBERSATU
P146 Muar N15 Maharani Nor Hayati BachokAMANAH
P149 Sri Gading N21 Parit Yaani Amunolhuda HassanAMANAH
P153 Sembrong N30 Paloh Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali DAP
Flag of Sabah.svg  Sabah P168 Kota Marudu N07 Tandek Hendrus Anding PBS
P170 Tuaran N12 Sulaman Hajiji Mohd NorBERSATU
P180 Keningau N39 Tambunan Jeffrey Kitingan STAR
N40 Bingkor Robert Tawik STAR
P188 Lahad Datu N63 Kunak Norazlinah ArifWARISAN
Flag of Sarawak.svg  Sarawak P198 Puncak Borneo N19 Mambong Jerip SusilPBB
Total Perlis (1), Kedah (1), Kelantan (3), Terengganu (1), Pahang (2), Selangor (5), Negeri Sembilan (1), Malacca (1), Johor (4), Sabah (5), Sarawak (1)

See also

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