No confidence motion against Malaysian PM shelved
He tells Speaker of Parliament fight against Covid-19 must be first priority
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will not face a confidence vote on May 18 as earlier scheduled, the Speaker of Parliament saidyesterday after the government cited the battle against the coronavirus as a priority.
Last week, the Speaker approved a motion seeking a vote of no confidence in Mr Muhyiddin's leadership, brought by 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who resigned as prime minister in February as his ruling coalition fell apart due to political wrangling.
Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said in a statement that Mr Muhyiddin later informed him that the government had decided to list only one order of parliamentary business for the day, the opening address by the king, "as the Covid-19 pandemic has not been fully cleared".
The next meeting of Parliament has been set for July 13 to Aug 27 but no date has been given for the confidence vote.
Malaysia reported 37 new cases yesterday, taking its cumulative total to 6,779 infections.
The health ministry also reported two new deaths, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 111.
Thailand, the first country outside China to discover a case of the new coronavirus, on Jan 13, reported no new daily cases for the first time in two months yesterday as the government considered easing more restrictions on businesses.
"We all can be relieved but not complacent," said Mr Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
"We need to continue with the main measures... wash hands, practise social distancing and wear masks," he said.
Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections yesterday with 689 new cases, taking its total to 15,438.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said there were 21 new deaths, taking the toll to 1,028. He added that more than 33,000 patients are suspected to be carrying acute respiratory illnesses for which there is no clinical explanation other than the new coronavirus.
In the Philippines, the government ordered a probe yesterday into the Manila police chief's birthday celebrations after photographs posted online showed him and dozens of officers flouting a ban on social gatherings.
Mr Debold Sinas, the chief of the National Capital Region's police office, apologised for "causing anxiety to the public", but the national police chief and justice minister ordered separate investigations into the incident.
Photographs posted on the force's Facebook page on May 8 had shown Mr Sinas along with dozens of people without masks sitting closely, with beer cans on their tables despite a liquor ban, while a band entertained them.
The photographs were taken down as the backlash mounted on social media, but by yesterday the police chief's party had become the Philippines' second most trending topic with more than 22,000 tweets.
"It was never my intention to disobey existing protocols relative to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine," Mr Sinas said in a statement.
The Philippines recorded 21 more deaths and 268 additional infections. Deaths have reached 772 while confirmed cases have risen to 11,618. - REUTERS