Malaysia’s anti-Muhyiddin politicians take to the streets

Malaysia’s opposition politicians protest against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Photo: Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook
Malaysia’s opposition politicians protest against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Photo: Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook

Opposition lawmakers including leader Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng marched from Dataran Merdeka towards the Parliament building this morning, calling on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign. 

They were seen holding a banner written with the prime minister’s legal name “Mahiaddin,” and were marching along with the media scrum and giving short speeches in between while being monitored by police, including those from the riot unit. The demonstration, which lasted about an hour, took place as parliament was suspended today due to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

<em>Riot police on standby as Malaysian politicians protest on Aug. 2, 2021. Photo: Wong Chen/Twitter</em>
Riot police on standby as Malaysian politicians protest on Aug. 2, 2021. Photo: Wong Chen/Twitter

“The people are dying, suffering because of the government’s failures,” Anwar told reporters. “The government has lost support. The government failed to perform its duties but continue to hold on to power. This is the view of 107 members of parliament from all opposition parties.”

Subang MP Wong Chen later said Anwar directed all opposition MPs to end the march. Demonstrators chanted phrases like “reformasi (reform),” “Hidup Rakyat (live for the people),” and “Daulat Tuanku (long live the king).”

The lower parliament house has been ordered shut for two weeks, which did not sit well with the opposition, claiming that the government was using everything in its arsenal to keep Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in power.

Before the march began, Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii shared photos online showing roads being blocked near Parliament. 

Opposition leaders at Dataran Merdeka on Aug. 2, 2021. Photos: Thomas Su/Twitter
Opposition leaders at Dataran Merdeka on Aug. 2, 2021. Photos: Thomas Su/Twitter

Roads to Parliament are closed #occupyParliament” he said, adding that the police have asked Members of Parliament to disperse or risk police action. Parliamentarians then moved to Dataran Merdeka, or Merdeka Square, he said. Ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad joined them there and said a few words to the press before the march began. 

Wong said on his social media that “MPs from PKR, DAP, Amanah, Warisan, Pejuang, Muda and UPKO” were present and that “the FRU has been mobilized to stop the march.”

The FRU refers to the Federal Reserve Unit. It is a riot control force and a paramilitary special response team that can be deployed at any time to engage in any emergency or public unrest in Malaysia.

Today’s parliament session was postponed after several COVID-19 cases were detected. The outbreak was announced Thursday, just as parliamentarians were debating emergency ordinances that had been revoked without royal approval and while others called on the prime minister to step down. 

The prime minister has been criticized by the public for his poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis, which continued to spiral out of control despite declaring a state of emergency in January. Six emergency ordinances were enacted by the government and later revoked without royal approval, inciting fury among opposition parties.

Other stories:

Parliament lockdown: Lawmakers sent for COVID-19 tests amid royal rebuke debate

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