How the pandemic retains Malaysia’s politics messy

Two seasoned politicians, Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, won a surprising election victory in 2018, ousting then Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal involving the state investment firm 1MDB. Mahathir, 96, became prime minister again (he held the post from 1981 to 2003), with an agreement that he would eventually be turned over to Anwar. Delays in setting a date and political disputes created tensions that boiled over in February 2020. Mahathir resigned and tried to strengthen his hand by forming a unity government outside of party politics. But the king forestalled his efforts by appointing Mahathir’s former right-hand man, Muhyiddin Yassin, as the eighth minister since Malaysia gained independence from Great Britain in 1957. Anwar, meanwhile, failed in his attempt to convince the king to let him form a new government.

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