Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics in Malaysia

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and affected the political system of Malaysia, causing suspensions of legislative activities and isolation of multiple politicians due to fears of spreading the virus. The onset of the pandemic coincided with a political crisis in early 2020 which continued into 2021 as the spread of COVID-19 and emergency government measures exacerbated initially unrelated political instability, culminating in the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet in August 2021. Numerous elections have been postponed or suspended, after the 2020 Sabah state election was blamed for a major outbreak in the state that led to the country's third wave. Several politicians have tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

General election and government formation

A political crisis in Malaysia coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.[1] The Pakatan Harapan coalition government collapsed, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and eventual replacement with Muhyiddin Yassin and a new Perikatan Nasional coalition, which maintained a small majority. Prime Minister Muhyiddin blamed the 2020 Sabah state election for a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases across the state and country.[2]

In June 2021, the rulers of Malaysia declared that there is no need to extend a state of emergency after 1 August, and parliament should be reopen as soon as possible.[3] The emergency has led to the suspension of all federal parliament and state assembly sittings and also by-elections, among other things, therefore by-elections will need to be elect after 1 August in Sarawak (assembly), Batu Sapi (federal seat), Gerik (federal seat), Bugaya (Sabah state seat) and Melor (Kelantan state seat).[4]

Restriction announcements

A large outbreak at a Tablighi Jamaat religious event and spread of the virus across the country thought to have been exacerbated by the political instability,[5] which newly appointed Health Minister Adham Baba used to criticize his predecessor Dzulkefly Ahmad, despite the absence of a clear government responsible at the time of the event.[6][7] Shortly after a thin government majority was established, the new government announced the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) to curb the spread of the virus.[1]

Amid ongoing political instability, Yang di-Pertuan Agong warned politicians in May 2020 that he "would like to advise against dragging the country once again into a political mess that brings uncertainties" given the ongoing health crisis in the country.[8] In January 2021, a State of Emergency was declared, suspending all elections and parliament, and the government were empowered to pass laws without oversight in response to the pandemic and ongoing political instability.[9] This led to the resignation of MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub from the party, resulting in the loss of the government's required majority of at least 111 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.[10] Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim criticised the declaration, saying this was an effort for the government to maintain power and that 115 other MPs were against it.[11]

Instances of isolation and testing

On 17 March 2020, Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (Bandar Kuching member of parliament) tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined at Sarawak General Hospital. He was suspected of having been infected with the virus after meeting Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu who was also tested positive for the virus.[12] He was announced to have recovered on 23 March 2020.[13] Another MP which is Chong Chieng Jen (Stampin member of parliament) tested negative.[14]

List of assemblymen who tested positive for COVID-19

Dewan Negara (Senators)

Dewan Negara

State/AppointedMemberPartyComfirmed Date
AppointedAhmad Masrizal MuhammadUMNO3 October 2020 (2020-10-03)[15]
Idris AhmadPAS16 January 2021 (2021-01-16)[16]
Zulkifli Mohamad Al-BakriIND5 October 2020 (2020-10-05)[17]

Dewan Rakyat (Members of Parliament)

Dewan Rakyat

StateNo.Parliament ConstituencyMemberPartyComfirmed Date
 PerlisP001Padang BesarZahidi Zainul AbidinUMNO13 January 2021 (2021-01-13)[18]
 KelantanP030JeliMustapa MohamedBERSATU10 January 2021 (2021-01-10)[19]
P032Gua MusangTengku Razaleigh HamzahUMNO14 January 2021 (2021-01-14)[20]
 PenangP047Nibong TebalMansor OthmanBERSATU25 July 2021 (2021-07-25)[21]
 PerakP056LarutHamzah ZainudinBERSATU12 January 2021 (2021-01-12)[22]
P061Padang RengasMohamed Nazri Abdul AzizUMNO18 January 2021 (2021-01-18)[23]
P073Pasir SalakTajuddin Abdul RahmanUMNO20 January 2021 (2021-01-20)[24]
P075Bagan DatukAhmad Zahid HamidiUMNO25 July 2021 (2021-07-25)[25]
 PahangP082Indera MahkotaSaifuddin AbdullahBERSATU28 April 2021 (2021-04-28)[26]
 Kuala LumpurP119TitiwangsaRina Mohd. HarunBERSATU11 January 2021 (2021-01-11)[27]
 JohorP156Kota TinggiHalimah Mohd. SadiqueUMNO19 January 2021 (2021-01-19)[28]
 SabahP180KeningauJeffrey Gapari KitinganSTAR4 January 2021 (2021-01-04)[29]
 SarawakP194Petra JayaFadillah YusofPBB11 June 2021 (2021-06-11)[30]
P197Kota SamarahanRubiah WangPBB4 April 2020 (2020-04-04)[31]
P195Bandar KuchingKelvin Yii Lee WuenDAP17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)[32]
P208SarikeiWong Ling BiuDAP17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)[33]
P211LanangAlice Lau Kiong YiengDAP27 May 2021 (2021-05-27)[34]
Total Perlis (1), Kelantan (2), Perak (3), Pahang (1), F.T. Kuala Lumpur (1), Johor (1), Sabah (1), Sarawak (5)

Dewan Undangan Negeri (Malaysian State Assembly Representatives)

No.State Assembly ConstituencyMemberParty
 PerlisP02KangarN8Indera KayanganGan Ay LingPKR
 KedahP17Padang SeraiN34LunasAzman NasruddinBERSATU
 KelantanP30JeliN37Air LanasMustapa MohamedBERSATU
P32Gua MusangN43NenggiriAb. Aziz YusoffUMNO
N45GalasMohd. Syahbuddin HashimUMNO
 TerengganuP40KemamanN30KijalAhmad SaidUMNO
 PahangP81JerantutN9TahanMohd Zakhwan Ahmad BadarddinPAS
P89BentongN35SabaiKamache Doray RajooDAP
 SelangorP97SelayangN14RawangChua Wei KiatPKR
P105Petaling JayaN33Taman MedanSyamsul Firdaus Mohamed SupriPKR
P106DamansaraN35Kampung TunkuLim Yi WeiDAP
P107Sungai BulohN39Kota DamansaraShatiri MansorPKR
P113SepangN55DengkilAdhif Syan AbdullahBERSATU
 Negeri SembilanP132Port DicksonN33Sri TanjongRavi MunasamyPKR
 MalaccaP134Masjid TanahN3Ayer LimauAmiruddin YusopUMNO
 JohorP142LabisN5TenangMohd. Solihan BadriBERSATU
P146MuarN15MaharaniNor Hayati BachokAMANAH
P149Sri GadingN21Parit YaaniAmunolhuda HassanAMANAH
P153SembrongN30PalohSheikh Umar Bagharib AliDAP
 SabahP168Kota MaruduN07TandekHendrus AndingPBS
P170TuaranN12SulamanHajiji Mohd NorBERSATU
P180KeningauN39TambunanJeffrey KitinganSTAR
N40BingkorRobert TawikSTAR
P188Lahad DatuN63KunakNorazlinah ArifWARISAN
 SarawakP198Puncak BorneoN19MambongJerip SusilPBB
TotalPerlis (1), Kedah (1), Kelantan (3), Terengganu (1), Pahang (2), Selangor (5), Negeri Sembilan (1), Malacca (1), Johor (4), Sabah (5), Sarawak (1)

See also


  1. ^ a b "Malaysia's political crisis". Strategic Comments. 26 (2): vii–ix. 7 February 2020. doi:10.1080/13567888.2020.1756352. S2CID 221060594.
  2. ^ "Sabah election spurred Malaysia virus surge, says prime minister". South China Morning Post. 6 October 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Malaysia rulers say no need for state of emergency beyond Aug 1; call for political temperature to be cooled down". CNA.
  4. ^ "Term of Sarawak's legislative assembly ends, but it will continue until Aug 1 due to state of emergency". The Straits Times. 6 June 2021.
  5. ^ "How Mass Pilgrimage at Malaysian Mosque Became Coronavirus Hotspot - The New York Times". The New York Times. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  6. ^ Ram, Sadho (19 April 2020). "Fact-Checking Dr Adham Baba's Claim That PH Failed To Contain The Tabligh Cluster". SAYS. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  7. ^ Hakim, Akmal. "After "Warm Water Method", Health Minister Reportedly Had Video Conference With "500 Countries" | TRP". The Rakyat Post. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  8. ^ Chin, Emmanuel Santa Maria. "King tells lawmakers not to drag the country into another political mess amid Covid-19 | Malay Mail". Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Malaysia declares Covid state of emergency amid political turmoil". The Guardian. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Umno MP retracts support for Muhyiddin, Perikatan now only has the backing of 110 MPs out of 220". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  11. ^ Kaur, Minderjeet (23 January 2021). "At least 115 MPs reject emergency, claims Anwar". Free Malaysia Today (FMT). Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii tests positive for Covid-19". Malaysiakini. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Covid-19: Bandar Kuching MP recovers, thanks Health Dept for their professionalism". Bernama. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Coronavirus: DAP's Kuching MP tests positive for Covid-19". The Straits Times. 17 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Deputy Minister Ahmad Masrizal tests positive for Covid-19 after Sabah trip | New Straits Times".
  16. ^ Arif, Zahratulhayat Mat (16 January 2021). "PAS veep positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  17. ^ Radhi, Nor Ain Mohamed (5 October 2020). "Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  18. ^ Krishnan, Dhesegaan Bala (13 January 2021). "Now deputy minister Zahidi is down with Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  19. ^ "Malaysian minister Mustapa Mohamed tests positive for COVID-19". CNA.
  20. ^ Chan, Dawn (14 January 2021). "Ku Li tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  21. ^ "Mansor Othman tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to hospital". The Star.
  22. ^ "Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin tests positive for COVID-19; third Cabinet case in 4 days". CNA.
  23. ^ "Nazri Aziz tests positive for Covid-19". Borneo Post Online.
  24. ^ Reporters, F. M. T. (20 January 2021). "Umno's Tajuddin tests positive for Covid-19".
  25. ^ "Covid-19: Ahmad Zahid tests positive but asymptomatic, now under home quarantine". The Star.
  26. ^ Chan, Dawn (29 April 2021). "Saifuddin tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  27. ^ "Another Malaysian minister tests positive for COVID-19, second case in Cabinet within 3 days". CNA.
  28. ^ "Fifth Malaysian minister tests positive for COVID-19". CNA.
  29. ^ Geraldine, Avila (4 January 2021). "Jeffrey Kitingan tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  30. ^ "Works Minister Fadillah Yusof tests positive for Covid-19, undergoing home quarantine".
  31. ^ "Kota Samarahan MP Rubiah Wang tests positive for Covid-19". Borneo Post Online.
  32. ^ Kawi, Mohd Roji (17 March 2020). "Bandar Kuching MP tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online.
  33. ^ "Covid-19: Sarikei MP discharged from hospital after 79-day battle". Borneo Post Online.
  34. ^ "Lanang MP tests positive for Covid-19 | New Straits Times". NST Online. 27 May 2021.

Media files used on this page

Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2.png
Author/Creator: Alexey Solodovnikov (Idea, Producer, CG, Editor), Valeria Arkhipova (Scientific Сonsultant), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Scientifically accurate atomic model of the external structure of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a strain (genetic variant) of the coronavirus that caused Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan, China, during December 2019

Each separate locus (amorphous blob) is an atom of:

  cobalt: membrane
  crimson: E protein
  green: M protein
  orange: glucose (glycan)
  turquoise : S (spike) glycoprotein
SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors
Flag of Perak.svg
Flag of the Malaysian state of Perak
Flag of Sabah.svg

Flag of the Malaysian state Sabah. Based on a GIF from a government website, colors from a photo. Drawn by Mysid. The flag was adopted September 16, 1988.

Per the Constitution of the State of Sabah:

"The State Flag is in a rectangular shape and is in the proportion of 1:2. The canton which extends at the head half way to the fly and 2/3 at the hoist to the foot is in Icicle Blue (C1T9) as the background to a graphic silhouette of Mount Kinabalu which is in Royal Blue (B10) positioned at ¼ of the height of the canton from end to end. The fly of the flag is divided equally into three bands of colours the foot division of which extends right to the hoist. The top band is in Zircon Blue (C5T5) the second band is in white and the third band is in Chili Red (S6R4)."
Flag of Kedah.svg
Flag of the Malaysian state of Kedah. SVG version.
Flag of Malacca.svg
Flag of the Malaysian state Malacca. Drawn by Mysid.
Flag of Johor.svg
Author/Creator: Mrmw, Mike Rohsopht, Licence: CC0
Flag of the Malaysian state Johor. FOTW says:
Johore has a blue flag, with a big red canton with white crescent and five-pointed star, pointing somewhere, but not exactly in lower fly end. (…) The flag consists of a white crescent and a star of five points on a red field at the canton and navy blue at the fly. The white denotes a sovereign ruler, red a warrior and blue the universe. This flag is very much associated with the Sultan.