Malaysia: Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointed new prime minister

World Friday 20/August/2021 14:00 PM
By: DW
Malaysia: Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointed new prime minister
Ismail Sabri Yaakob was only appointed to the deputy prime minister position last month but is now Malaysia's leader

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's king on Friday named Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the country's new prime minister.

Ismail Sabri's appointment means the longest-governing party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), has reclaimed the premiership it lost in a shock 2018 election defeat.

Ismail Sabri replaces Muhyiddin Yassin, who stepped down this week after losing his parliamentary majority due to infighting in his coalition.

The veteran politician takes over as the Southeast Asian nation grapples with a surge in COVID-19 infections and an economic slump, amid growing public anger over the handling of the health crisis.

Ismail Sabri, who was Muhyiddin's deputy for only a month, secured majority support, with the backing of 114 of parliament's 222 members, the palace said in a statement.

His appointment returns the role of prime minister to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysia's 'grand old party,' which was voted out in a 2018 general election over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB corruption scandal.

UMNO had ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1957.