Malaysia to Reopen Parliament This Month Amid Public Pressure

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is set to reopen parliament this month, lifting a suspension that the embattled premier placed on the legislative assembly all year.

Muhyiddin will call for a parliament sitting “as soon as possible before Aug. 1,” Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement on Friday. The matter will be finalized at a Cabinet meeting on July 7, he added.

The statement came hours after opposition leaders urged all 220 MPs to head to parliament on July 19 if Muhyiddin remained silent on the matter. They said it was treason to ignore the king’s wishes that parliament reconvene before Aug. 1.

Malaysia’s King Wishes for Parliament to Convene Before Aug. 1

Daily Covid cases have doubled since Muhyiddin announced a state of emergency in January to control the spread of the outbreak, sparking public anger. The emergency, due to end on Aug. 1, allowed him to suspend parliament and enact laws without legislative approval. That also meant no snap polls could be called during that period.

Muhyiddin had initially planned to reopen parliament in September at the earliest, citing the high Covid cases. The virus’ effective reproduction rate, or R-naught, has remained above 1.0 since Monday, prompting the government on Thursday to tighten movements curbs in most of Selangor, its richest state, as well as several localities in Kuala Lumpur.

The curbs are on top of the nationwide lockdown that began June 1, after new infections exceeded a record 9,000 by end-May. The country counted 6,982 new cases on Friday, way above the 4,000 level the government has set for easing the restrictions.

Meantime, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee will be summoned for a meeting on July 26, according to chairman Wong Kah Woh.

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