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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia's old guard returns as Ismail Sabri is sworn in as PM

COVID and resentment over party's scandal-tainted past to test new leader

Ismail Sabri Yaakob waves to reporters before his inauguration as Malaysia's ninth prime minister on Aug. 21.   © Malaysia Information Department via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Ismail Sabri Yaakob was sworn in as Malaysia's ninth prime minister on Saturday afternoon, marking the return of the country's scandal-plagued old guard amid a relentless COVID-19 crisis.

The 61-year-old became the country's third premier in the three years since the last federal election in 2018. Clad in a Malay traditional costume called baju melayu and accompanied by his wife and children, Ismail Sabri took the oath in front of King Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin.

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