Malaysia’s Cabinet inaugurated, self-quarantined PM misses ceremony

Malaysia’s new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was inaugurated Monday, but the new leader missed the swearing-in ceremony of ministers after coming into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement, said he will virtually attend the national day celebration on Tuesday, without specifying how long he will be self-isolating.Photo taken Aug. 30, 2021, shows a ceremony to inaugurate Malaysia’s new Cabinet, held at the palace in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo courtesy of the Malaysian government)(Kyodo)

Ismail Sabri was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister on Aug. 21 amid the country’s struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis worsened by the country’s political instability.

The new prime minister, who was deputy prime minister and defense minister in the previous government, replaced Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned on Aug. 16 after losing majority support in the parliament amid strong disapproval of the government’s COVID-19 response.

Malaysia has seen an unabated wave of coronavirus infections as the country confirmed a record 24,599 daily cases and the highest daily death toll at 393 last Thursday.

Some 45 percent of the population have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination, but infections are rapidly expanding in rural areas where vaccine rollout has not picked up pace.

The pandemic has roiled the economy as the ongoing lockdown in Kuala Lumpur has caused economic activities in the country’s largest city to slow down.

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