Aug 22, 2021 08:54 UTC
  • Ismail Sabri Yaakob becomes Malaysia's new prime minister amid mounting health crisis

Malaysia has sworn in a new prime minister after the previous government collapsed amid political turmoil that was fueled by public anger over mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Press TV, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, 61, was sworn in on Saturday by officials at the national palace as the 9th prime minister of Malaysia.

He was picked by King Al-Sultan Abdullah, the constitutional monarch, to replace Muhyiddin Yassin who declared his resignation on Monday after losing the confidence of the majority of legislators for what they saw as his poor performance in tackling the pandemic and reviving the economy.

The king chose to appoint a new premier based on who had majority support in parliament, rather than call an election, over concerns a vote could worsen the pandemic.

Ismail Sabri, formerly Muhyiddin's deputy for a short stint, served as the Minister of Defense before that. 

He hails from the United Malays National Organisation (UNMO) and has been a member of parliament from Bera district in southwestern Pahang since 2004.

His selection as prime minister signals the return to power of UMNO, which governed the country for more than six decades since its independence.

UMNO, the country's biggest party and often referred to by pundits as Malaysia's conservative right-wing "Grand Old Party," was defeated in a 2018 election over a scandal at state fund 1MDB.

At present, no lawmaker or single political party has a majority in parliament.