Long overshadowed by colorful contemporaries, the man who yesterday emerged from a week of turmoil as Malaysia’s new prime minister is a publicity-shy picture of conservatism.
When Muhyiddin Yassin, 72, heard news on Saturday that the king had picked him over 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, the outspoken leader who has dominated Malaysian politics for decades, he immediately dropped to the carpet in tears to give thanks to Allah.
“He is a very serious, boring man,” said one person who has worked with him for years and did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“Probably that is what Malaysia needs now rather than a camera-hunting, publicity-stunt type of man,” the person said.
A conservative Muslim from the majority Malay community, Muhyiddin staked his claim to the premiership when Mahathir failed to rally support for a unity government after his shock resignation as prime minister on Monday last week.
Muhyiddin is a Malay nationalist and he drew support from the former ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Islamist party PAS, who were defeated in 2018 by a multi-ethnic coalition under Mahathir that promised to fight corruption.
“I am a Malay first, I want to say that, but being Malay does not mean that you are not Malaysian,” Muhyiddin said in 2010.
Such sentiment struck a chord at a time of disaffection within the Malay majority over a perceived loss of privileges under Mahathir’s government.
“Like a good striker he saw the opening he did not expect, and took advantage to score,” Malaysian lawyer Zaid Ibrahim said about the low-profile Muhyiddin, who was minister of home affairs under Mahathir.
Mahathir and Muhyiddin were from the same Bersatu party and the former prime minister said that he felt betrayed by a man he accused of plotting with UMNO to bring it back, despite the corruption charges now facing some of its top officials.
“Muhyiddin is willing to accept anything. He says politics is more important than principles,” Mahathir said, vowing to call for a session of parliament to test whether Muhyiddin had a majority.
Muhyiddin did not immediately respond to the accusations.
After Muhyiddin was sworn in, his office said that he would not be speaking to media that day.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete