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A thumbs up from the new PM. Photo: Mohd Firdaus/NurPhoto via Getty

Ismail Sabri Yaakob began work on Monday as Malaysia's new prime minister, bringing the once-dominant but corruption-plagued United Malays National Organization (UMNO) back to power.

Why it matters: The new government will have to contend with the country’s worst-yet outbreak of COVID-19 and try to usher in a semblance of political stability.

  • Ismail’s Sabri’s predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin, lasted just 17 months and spent much of that time trying to avoid a vote of no confidence. He took power in a backroom deal, suspended parliament through a pandemic state of emergency, and resigned last week after losing his always-flimsy majority.
  • The new prime minister is thought to have better relations with the various political factions.

Of note: Malaysia’s king, who has become a major political player despite the role being largely ceremonial — it rotates among nine sultans — opted against early elections due to the pandemic and instead appointed Ismail Sabri, whom he said had secured a narrow majority.

  • The king has said the new prime minister should soon face a confidence vote.

Between the lines: The news is a blow to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. He had previously been set to rotate into the prime ministership as part of a power-sharing deal following a historic opposition victory in the 2018 elections, but that coalition fractured.

  • UMNO had dominated Malaysian politics for six decades before the massive 1MDB corruption scandal. Now they’re back in power, but as part of a broader coalition.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer but picked up a new rival.

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