Malaysia Edition: Political temperature heats up | Bribes for cooking oil

Asian Insider: Malaysian Insider helps you connect the dots on the biggest stories playing out in Malaysia every week. Sign up here to get the newsletter in your inbox.

Parliament resumed this week in what could be a final sitting before the next general election. One of the key issues to be debated is a milestone anti-party hopping law that is meant to stem defections, a major cause of political instability in previous administrations. 

Meanwhile the country's main political protagonists are getting their ducks in a row as they prepare for the polls.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat held its annual congress last weekend, at which he and his new deputy Rafizi Ramli presented a united front and sought compromise on whether to team up with other parties as part of their election strategy. 

On the government bench, a feud has erupted over whether Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had promised the deputy PM post to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, in return for Bersatu chief and then-PM Muhyiddin Yassin backing Datuk Seri Ismail to succeed him.

Another government ally, Parti Islam SeMalaysia, has also been hedging its bets between supporting Bersatu and ruling party Umno in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, food inflation woes continue unabated, with desperate traders resorting to bribing grocers to access subsidised cooking oil. The government is trying to target subsidies at low-income earners amid such abuses, and smuggling, but allowing retail prices to rise will be politically hazardous.

Back in Parliament, opposition lawmakers’ attempts to force an emergency motion on the shock seizure of Petronas firms in Luxembourg by claimed heirs to the defunct Sulu sultanate were dismissed.

The Filipino claimants are threatening to snap up other Malaysian assets having won a unilateral arbitration award worth US$15 billion in France earlier this year.

Tensions rise in Malaysia's ruling alliance over alleged deal between PM Ismail and Bersatu

The pact to create deputy prime minister post for Mr Muhyiddin’s party widens internal fault lines.


Anwar's PKR eases rift over Malaysia election strategy as party congress closes

He and newly elected deputy president Rafizi Ramli are open to cooperate with those opposed to BN.


Malaysia tables revised anti-party hopping Bill as bipartisan pact nears expiry

Defections had caused PH to lose the federal government and its control of five state assemblies.


PAS hedging its bets ahead of Malaysia's general election

Parti Islam SeMalaysia appears keen to align itself with Umno, which is seen to be on a winning streak, said analysts.


Desperate Malaysian food sellers resort to bribing supermarket staff for subsidised cooking oil

Subsidised cooking oil is prohibited for commercial use.


Malaysia's subsidies a dilemma amid soaring cost of living

Economists say the country needs to remove blanket subsidies and instead provide targeted subsidies to those who need them the most.


Smuggling, scrapping of subsidies fuelling shortage of cheapest cooking oil in Malaysia

Economists agree that a better long-term solution would be to abolish subsidies and provide direct assistance to the needy.


Ruckus in Malaysia Parliament after debate on Sulu claim rejected

The heated argument led to the Speaker leaving his seat and an MP being ejected from the House.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.