As Malaysia continues to report unprecedented cases and deaths due to COVID-19, the country’s embattled prime minister warned on Friday that a change in government could undermine recovery prospects.
“Can the country handle more problems should there be a change or political chaos?”, said Muhyiddin Yassin.
He came under increasing pressure to quit over the government’s pandemic response and over allegations he misled the country’s monarchy and parliament.
In spite of around three months of what the government had earlier called total lockdown, the Health Ministry on Friday reported almost 21,000 new virus cases, more than five times as many as when the measures came into force.
Thursday saw total fatalities related to the virus top 10,000 after 164 more people died.
A total of 257 deaths were reported on Wednesday.
Muhyiddin had earlier agreed to a confidence vote in parliament next month after opposition parties claimed last week that he had lost majority support.
His fate was likely to hinge on the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said earlier this week that at least eight of the party’s members of parliament had withdrawn their support for Muhyiddin, in line with party demands and likely to mean the prime minister had lost his majority.
However, Ismail Sabri, who last month was promoted by Muhyiddin, on Friday criticised his party president during a press conference in which he was joined by 20 lawmakers who said they backed Muhyiddin.
Pulling out of government would be irresponsible, Ismail Sabri said.