Malaysians are aghast at Muhyiddin’s craven ‘not a coup’ moment

malaysians are aghast at muhyiddins craven not a coup moment

William Pesek is an award-winning Tokyo-based journalist and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.”

Donald Trump’s coup attempt in Washington is dominating the global discourse. What better time for Malaysia’s prime minister to pull his own over-the-line stunt to stay in power?

“Malaysia and Trump, in D.C., declare emergency — interesting parallels,” says Bridget Welsh, an associate at the Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

No, Muhyiddin Yassin did not get thousands of armed insurgents to storm the parliament. The prime minister just called in sick. Even better, he got the king to do it for him by declaring a COVID-19 state of emergency, delaying indefinitely an election Muhyiddin seemed sure to lose.

While not a U.S. President Trump-style putsch, Malaysia’s political establishment is aghast at its cravenness. That says a lot for a nation still reeking of the stench of Najib Razak’s nine-year reign and multibillion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal.

The real transgression this week may be against an ailing economy. As Muhyiddin hides behind what is effectively a doctor’s note from King Al-Sultan Abdullah, his government is doing little to halt the slide in living standards and competitiveness.

Malaysia’s chaotic politics have been hobbling economic reforms for 20-plus years …

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