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Malaysia COVID emergency measures 'not a coup,' Muhyiddin says

Parliament suspension gives PM respite from pressure to call election

A medical worker collects a coronavirus test sample from a police officer in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Jan. 7.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's government on Tuesday proclaimed a state of emergency with the king's consent, aiming to arrest a surge in coronavirus cases while also blocking any attempts by political parties to destabilize embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's administration.

The emergency, which entails a suspension of parliament, is to last until August or as long as it takes to control COVID-19, according to a statement from King Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin's palace. Muhyiddin, who delivered a televised address shortly after the statement was released, said a long-rumored snap election will not be held until the decree is lifted but offered assurances that this was not an attempt to seize power.

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