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Malaysia's new PM invites opposition to join COVID-19 effort

Aug. 22, 2021 - 21:06 By Reuters
Sabri waves to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Reuters-Yonhap)
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -- Malaysia's new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Sunday he will inviteopposition leaders to join the government's special committeesto address the COVID-19 crisis.

Ismail Sabri took charge on Saturday with a slim parliamentary majority as the SoutheastAsian nation battles its worst COVID-19 surge and public angergrows over mismanagement of the pandemic.

The 61-year-old was deputy premier in the administration ofMuhyiddin Yassin, which collapsed on Monday due to coalitioninfighting - the second government to fall since generalelections in 2018.

In a televised address, Ismail Sabri said he will invite theleadership of the opposition to be part of the NationalRecovery Council and the Special Committee on COVID-19.

"I understand that the political turmoil that has besiegedthe country have distressed the public. Therefore, it isimperative that political stability is swiftly achieved through togetherness, and this includes cross-party cooperation," he said.

The new premier also said he will enhance the previous government's COVID-19 strategy. He was a key minister in chargeof framing Malaysia's pandemic response under the Muhyiddin administration.

Malaysia's infections and deaths are southeast Asia'shighest relative to population.