Malaysia's new prime minister called on his colleagues Sunday to end a months-long political crisis and come together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, in his first speech as the country's fourth premier in as many years. And according to the state news agency Bernama on Monday, he will announce his cabinet line-up this week.
Just days after the previous government collapsed in a storm of political infighting, Ismail Sabri Yaakob urged lawmakers to unite to help the country recover from the pandemic.
"The political crisis that has hit the country is causing unrest among the people," the 61-year-old said in a televised address Sunday evening.
"Let us move forward. Let us stem this grab for political power."
Malaysia has been enveloped in a political crisis for months amid growing public anger over the government's handling of the pandemic.
Thousands have lost their jobs as businesses nationwide have been forced to close due to a series of lockdowns put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Those measures are widely seen as having failed to mitigate the pandemic, and Malaysia's healthcare infrastructure is now overwhelmed as it records an average of 20,000 new infections and hundreds of deaths every day.
Ismail said Sunday his government aimed to help the economy by focusing on raising people's purchasing power and aid the country's embattled private sector.
The premier also invited leaders of the political opposition to join special councils formed to combat the virus and help the economic recovery.