Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics in Malaysia
This article needs to be updated.(August 2021)
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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.
General election and government formation
A political crisis in Malaysia coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. 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.
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. 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).
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, 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. He was announced to have recovered on 23 March 2020. Another MP which is Chong Chieng Jen (Stampin member of parliament) tested negative.
List of assemblymen who tested positive for COVID-19
Dewan Negara (Senators)
|Appointed||Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad||UMNO||3 October 2020|
|Idris Ahmad||PAS||16 January 2021|
|Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri||IND||5 October 2020|
Dewan Rakyat (Members of Parliament)
Dewan Undangan Negeri (Malaysian State Assembly Representatives)
|No.||State Assembly Constituency||Member||Party|
|Perlis||P02||Kangar||N8||Indera Kayangan||Gan Ay Ling||PKR|
|Kedah||P17||Padang Serai||N34||Lunas||Azman Nasruddin||BERSATU|
|Kelantan||P30||Jeli||N37||Air Lanas||Mustapa Mohamed||BERSATU|
|P32||Gua Musang||N43||Nenggiri||Ab. Aziz Yusoff||UMNO|
|N45||Galas||Mohd. Syahbuddin Hashim||UMNO|
|Pahang||P81||Jerantut||N9||Tahan||Mohd Zakhwan Ahmad Badarddin||PAS|
|P89||Bentong||N35||Sabai||Kamache Doray Rajoo||DAP|
|Selangor||P97||Selayang||N14||Rawang||Chua Wei Kiat||PKR|
|P105||Petaling Jaya||N33||Taman Medan||Syamsul Firdaus Mohamed Supri||PKR|
|P106||Damansara||N35||Kampung Tunku||Lim Yi Wei||DAP|
|P107||Sungai Buloh||N39||Kota Damansara||Shatiri Mansor||PKR|
|P113||Sepang||N55||Dengkil||Adhif Syan Abdullah||BERSATU|
|Negeri Sembilan||P132||Port Dickson||N33||Sri Tanjong||Ravi Munasamy||PKR|
|Malacca||P134||Masjid Tanah||N3||Ayer Limau||Amiruddin Yusop||UMNO|
|Johor||P142||Labis||N5||Tenang||Mohd. Solihan Badri||BERSATU|
|P146||Muar||N15||Maharani||Nor Hayati Bachok||AMANAH|
|P149||Sri Gading||N21||Parit Yaani||Amunolhuda Hassan||AMANAH|
|P153||Sembrong||N30||Paloh||Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali||DAP|
|Sabah||P168||Kota Marudu||N07||Tandek||Hendrus Anding||PBS|
|P170||Tuaran||N12||Sulaman||Hajiji Mohd Nor||BERSATU|
|P188||Lahad Datu||N63||Kunak||Norazlinah Arif||WARISAN|
|Sarawak||P198||Puncak Borneo||N19||Mambong||Jerip Susil||PBB|
|Total||Perlis (1), Kedah (1), Kelantan (3), Terengganu (1), Pahang (2), Selangor (5), Negeri Sembilan (1), Malacca (1), Johor (4), Sabah (5), Sarawak (1)|
- 2020–21 Malaysian political crisis
- 2021 Malaysian state of emergency
- Issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia
- Social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia
- Political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
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