Malaysia deploys riot police as members of parliament try to march to parliament | International News Coronavirus Pandemic News

Monday’s meeting was cancelled due to the COVID infection, and the fragile government is under pressure to respond to the pandemic.

Due to increasing political tensions in the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, opposition members of the Malaysian parliament were met by riot police and threatened with arrest when they tried to go to the parliament building on Monday.

Parliament started a “special session” last week after a months-long shutdown Emergency declaration In January, due to the COVID, opposition politicians criticized Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet because despite months of stricter lockdowns, the number of cases and deaths continued to rise.

The meeting was supposed to last until Monday, but it was cancelled after Parliament confirmed some COVID-19 cases.

Dozens of parliamentarians gathered at Merdeka Square in the center of Kuala Lumpur, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the first two prime ministers Mahathir Mohamad, calling on Muhyiddin to resign. They plan to walk to the parliament two kilometers (1.2 miles) away.

“Thousands of people have died, but he is happy to stay,” Mahathir was quoted by the online newspaper Malaysiakini. Anwar said Muhyiddin had lost his legitimacy.

Muhyiddin Increasing pressure Since coming to power in March 2020, the government was voted to come to power in a historic election in May 2018 after a power seizure resulted in the collapse of the government. Muhyiddin was appointed as prime minister after persuading the king that he had the necessary support in parliament to govern, but he often faced demands to prove his majority.

Although the prolonged lockdown has left many people struggling, as the COVID-19 death toll continues to rise, people’s anger has increased in recent months. The total number of cases in the country last month exceeded 1 million, and another 160 people died on Sunday.

Opposition politicians encountered a riot police wall in Kuala Lumpur, blocking the way to Parliament [Arif Kartono/AFP]

“We are seeing increased opposition from students, activists, contracted doctors and ordinary Malaysians to the Muhyiddin government. We are witnessing the government using the police as a tool to contain legal dissent,” said Charles Santiago, an opposition MP from the hard-hit Klang district. Wrote on Twitter. “But these protests will not stop because people have endured them and their patience has been exhausted. Although they have been caught, it is embarrassing to insist on power, especially when good governance is needed to alleviate the raging epidemic. Of the consequences.”

On Saturday, hundreds of people held a “lawan” (battle) rally in Kuala Lumpur to keep their distance from society, and junior doctors left their jobs due to salary and conditions a week ago. Both incidents were investigated by the police.

After the discovery of two positive cases, the parliamentary meeting was cancelled after a large-scale test was carried out, and 11 cases of COVID-19 were found among the more than 1,000 politicians and staff working there.

Opposition politicians pointed out that despite the high number of cases in the country, many factories and offices in Malaysia continue to operate, noting that the parliamentary positive rate is below the 5% limit set by the World Health Organization.

Politicians were also one of the first people in Malaysia to be vaccinated. Now only more than 20% of Malaysian residents have made jabs at the same time, and the government is speeding up the plan.

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