20 Words & phrases that defined 2020: Backdoor government

2020 has been a year of upheaval and crisis - one that was shaped by the coronavirus pandemic. It also saw significant developments, such as a general election in Singapore and the United States electing its next leader. In this 12-day series, The Straits Times spotlights 20 words or phrases that defined 2020.

Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad (right) resigned in February amid cracks in the Pakatan Harapan coalition. It is unclear when the phrase "backdoor government" was first used, but one PH leader used it as early as Feb 23 when leaders of seve
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin outside Parliament in Kuala Lumpur last month. He currently has the slimmest majority in Parliament in Malaysian history, of 111 out of 220 MPs. PHOTO: REUTERS
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin outside Parliament in Kuala Lumpur last month. He currently has the slimmest majority in Parliament in Malaysian history, of 111 out of 220 MPs. PHOTO: REUTERS
Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad (above) resigned in February amid cracks in the Pakatan Harapan coalition. It is unclear when the phrase "backdoor government" was first used, but one PH leader used it as early as Feb 23 when leaders of several parties gathered to block the promised transfer of power in PH to Parti Keadilan Rakyat chief Anwar Ibrahim. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin outside Parliament in Kuala Lumpur last month. He currently has the slimmest majority in Parliament in Malaysian history, of 111 out of 220 MPs. PHOTO: REUTERS
Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad resigned in February amid cracks in the Pakatan Harapan coalition. It is unclear when the phrase "backdoor government" was first used, but one PH leader used it as early as Feb 23 when leaders of several parties gathered to block the promised transfer of power in PH to Parti Keadilan Rakyat chief Anwar Ibrahim (above). PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

The government has passed laws and even won a crucial Budget 2021 vote despite a fractious 10 months in power.

But Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is president of one of the four parties that made up the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which forced Malaysia's first ever change of government at the 2018 election, has been unable to shake off accusations that he is now leading a "backdoor government".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2020, with the headline '20 Words & phrases that defined 2020: Backdoor government'. Subscribe