Coronavirus: Malaysia’s king meets political leaders as public anger grows over handling of pandemic
- The monarch has the ability to lift the ongoing state of emergency that he declared in January in order for the government to tackle the pandemic
- The emergency state allowed embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to suspend parliament, where he faced growing dissent
“His Majesty is our hope right now because parliament is unable to convene,” Lim, leader of the Democratic Action Party, said after seeing the monarch. “There is no space for the people to express their problems.”
Rising public anger will likely affect the government’s unity, and Malaysians may take to the streets if elections aren’t held in coming months, it said.
Islamic volunteer undertakers in Malaysia overwhelmed by Covid-19 surge
The worsening outbreak has prompted calls for parliament to reconvene. Malaysia on Friday said it was studying the possibility of allowing lawmakers to participate online.
Anwar told reporters he urged the monarch to do his utmost to prevent the government from extending the emergency, which is due to end in August. Still, the king is bound by the spirit of Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy, where he acts on the prime minister’s advice, Anwar said.
After staying in the background of national politics for decades, Malaysia’s monarch began moving centre stage last year to fill a vacuum created following the abrupt resignation of Mahathir as premier. The king resolved a week-long impasse by tapping Muhyiddin to become prime minister without a parliamentary vote. Opposition leaders had sought meetings with the king while vying for power.