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Uncertainty as Malaysian PM Mahathir resigns

Greeley Pulitzer

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Uncertainty as Malaysian PM Mahathir resigns | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PM Mahathir, right, had the support of would-be successor Anwar Ibrahim, left, to stay on until after November – Malaysiakini
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Just days after Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad was given a mandate by the ruling coalition to stay on until after November’s APEC Summit, he has submitted a letter of resignation to the nation’s king. His office made the announcement today, amid talk of forming a new coalition.

The fate of Malaysia’s current ruling coalition has been in doubt since surprise weekend talks between it and opposition groups on forming a new government, to exclude Mahathir’s anointed successor, Anwar Ibrahim.

The struggle between old rivals, 94 year old Mahathir, and Anwar, aged 72, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades and tension has remained, despite their victorious alliance in 2018’s elections based on a promise that Mahathir would one day hand power to Anwar. Anwar was even jailed for years on questionable sodomy charges, blocking his ascent to the premiership.

“The letter has been sent to His Royal Highness the King at 1pm,” Mahathir’s office said in a statement.

It’s not immediately clear whether Mahathir can form another government with the support of other parties, but his party, Bersatu, also quit the ruling coalition, according to a Facebook post from its president, Malaysian home minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Yesterday, Anwar accused Mahathir’s party and “traitors” in his own party of plotting to form a new government with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the former ruling party ousted in 2018 amid accusations of graft.

Sources say Bersatu and a faction of Anwar’s party met officials from UMNO and Islamist party PAS, in efforts to form a new coalition and possibly back Mahathir to serve out a full five-year term as prime minister.

The uncertainty, coupled with growing fears about the spreading coronavirus COVID-19, has spooked investors, driving Kuala Lumpur’s stock market benchmark to a 10 year low, while the ringgit slid 0.7% to a nearly six month low, its sharpest drop in more than three years.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World |

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Malaysia’s coronavirus cases will peak in mid-April: WHO

Anukul

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Malaysia’s coronavirus cases will peak in mid-April: WHO | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: rt.com

Today, The World Health Organisation has announced that the number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia is expected to peak in mid-April as there appears there are signs of a flattening of the infection curve. Malaysia is now ranked the highest number of known infections in Southeast Asia with a total of 2,908 confirmed cases with 102 patients that are in intensive care across Malaysia and a total of 45 deaths (followed by Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, in that order).

Malaysia’s health ministry announced yesterday that the rate of new infections appeared to be slowing down due to the restrictions of movements and because Malaysia has ramped up its diagnostic testing capacity in recent days, testing over 7,000 patients a day from last week’s 3,500.

Meanwhile, the WHO’s head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, Ying-Ru Lo, says that based on available data, the WHO Country Office has projected that Malaysia will see a peak in hospitalised cases in mid-April. The number of critically ill patients is estimated to reach a peak within the next week.”

“There are initial signs of flattening of the curve, but this could bounce back if control measures are lifted and if people don’t continue to take protective measures.”

Ying-ru also reported that WHO projections could change.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nearly 300 Thais stranded at the southern border, paperwork issues

The Thaiger

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Nearly 300 Thais stranded at the southern border, paperwork issues | The Thaiger

Around 300 Thais trying to return to Thailand are stranded at the Wang Kelian immigration checkpoint in northern Malaysia’s Perlis State. On the other side is Thailand’s Wang Prachan checkpoint in Satun’s Khuan Don district. They’ve been denied entry after failing to comply with the strict new regulations set by the Thai authorities.

Thailand and Malaysia have closed their checkpoints along the southern border. The two countries do not allow entry by foreigners via these checkpoints except their own citizens.

Thai nationals are meant to be permitted to return to Thailand via the Wang Prachan immigration checkpoint in Satun. But to be eligible, the Thai nationals are required to contact the Thai embassy in KL or a Thai consulate in Malaysia to get a formal letter of their residential status in Thailand. The Thais are also required to obtain a health certificate which are issued not longer than 72 hours previously.

250-300 Thais, most of them who worked as crew on Malaysian fishing boats, but live in Satun, as well as some Thai tourists, converged on the Wang Kelian checkpoint from around 9am yesterday. But they were denied entry by the Thai immigration police because they failed to produce all the requisite paperwork.

By 2pm a meeting was held between Thai and Malaysian authorities on the Thai side of the border. All the talking wasn’t able to resolve the situation and the Thais were told they could not cross into Thailand.

Eventually, after hours of negotiations, the Satun Governor Veeranan informed the throng that the Thai consulate in Penang, would speed up procedures so that the stranded Thais would be able to return home.

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Southeast Asia

King and Queen of Malaysia under quarantine after palace staff test positive for coronavirus

Greeley Pulitzer

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King and Queen of Malaysia under quarantine after palace staff test positive for coronavirus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hello Canada

Malaysia has the highest number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia (2031 at time of publication), and now its King and Queen are under quarantine after 7 staff members of the royal palace tested positive for the virus. National news agency Bernama made the announcement yesterday.

Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin and his wife Tuanku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah have tested negative for the virus, according to the Comptroller of the Royal Household. However, they decided self-quarantine for 14 days, beginning Wednesday.

The seven workers are reported to be in stable condition. News portal Malaysiakini reports that the health ministry is investigating how the seven become infected.

Malaysia reported 235 new coronavirus cases yesterday in its biggest daily jump. The number of deaths from rose to 23, the health ministry said.

Front-line medical workers in Malaysia say they’re being put in danger by a lack of protective equipment and uncooperative patients as the country struggles to prevent another wave of infections by extending a nationwide lockdown.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Reuters | SCMP

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