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Malaysia reports record Covid-19 deaths as opposition MPs protest

Mahathir and Anwar join protest, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia saw both political turmoil and grim Covid-19 news yesterday.

As opposition politicians staged a protest calling for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to quit, the country reported a record 219 deaths.

Malaysian political heavyweights, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Mr Anwar Ibrahim, put aside long-running animosity and joined an opposition protest against the shutdown of Parliament and demand the country's embattled premier resign.

CANCELLED

The final day of a Parliament session, due to take place yesterday, has been cancelled after the discovery of several coronavirus cases in the legislature.

But rivals accused Mr Muhyiddin of using Covid-19 as an excuse to dodge a no-confidence vote that could cause the collapse of his government.

The Parliament sitting, which began last week, was the first this year after political activities were suspended under a state of emergency, ostensibly to fight a worsening outbreak.

Yesterday, two-time former prime minister Mahathir and Mr Anwar stood side by side at the head of a group of around 100 lawmakers before they tried to march on Parliament. The pair's turbulent relationship has long loomed over Malaysian politics, and it has been rare to see them together since the collapse of their coalition government last year amid infighting.

SHAMELESS

"Even when people condemn (Mr Muhyiddin), he remains shameless and refuses to step down," Dr Mahathir told reporters.

Mr Anwar said Mr Muhyiddin's government had "lost its legitimacy" and he no longer commanded majority support in Parliament.

"We are protesting today because we want to protect the people," he added.

The MPs, chanting "step down Muhyiddin", were stopped by police as they attempted to reach Parliament and peacefully dispersed.

Political tensions are escalating, with Mr Muhyiddin facing fresh calls to quit after the King rebuked his administration for misleading Parliament and hundreds staged a rare anti-government protest on Saturday.

The state of emergency officially ended on Sunday, although a nationwide lockdown remains in place.

Malaysia has seen a total of 9,403 deaths. It reported 15,764 cases yesterday, bringing the total to 1,146,186. - AFP, REUTERS

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