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AFP
September 27, 2020

Malaysian PM wins key state polls

World

AFP
September 27, 2020

SEMPORNA, Malaysia: Malaysia’s embattled prime minster on Saturday passed his biggest political test since taking office with a narrow victory in key state elections, which could help strengthen his tenuous hold on power.

Analysts had warned defeat in eastern Sabah state for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could have meant the end of his fractious coalition government, which came to power without an election in March. Adding to his problems, the vote came just days after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim launched a bid to topple Muhyiddin’s administration, claiming he had mustered enough support from MPs to take over. Malaysia has been gripped by political turmoil since the collapse in February of a reformist government, which was headed by Mahathir Mohamad and included Anwar, amid bitter infighting.

Muhyiddin seized power at the head of a coalition backed by a scandal-plagued party, which critics accuse of lacking legitimacy, and his administration has only a wafer-thin majority in parliament. The elections in Sabah on Borneo island were called after a Muhyiddin ally launched a bid to take over the opposition-controlled local government. But rather than cede power, the chief minister dissolved the state assembly.