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Malaysia Politics Upended Again as Key Party Calls on PM to Quit

  • UMNO withdraws from coalition, calls on Muhyiddin to resign
  • Prime minister could still hang on as virus prevents election
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

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The biggest political party in Malaysia’s ruling coalition withdrew support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and called on him to resign, setting the stage for another round of instability in the Southeast Asian nation.

The move by the United Malays National Organisation in the early hours of Thursday is the latest twist in a turbulent period for Malaysian politics that began 15 months ago with the surprise resignation of longtime leader Mahathir Mohamad. In a Facebook post after the party’s meeting concluded well past midnight, UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the withdrawal and called for a new leader to take over until fresh elections can be held.