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Malaysia, amid political turmoil, says to host virtual APEC summit in November

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia said on Monday it will host the first ever virtual summit of leaders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations in November, amid political uncertainty faced by its Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Doubts had arisen earlier in the year if the summit will go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand, which is hosting next year’s APEC summit, has said it will use virtual platforms to conduct the meeting due to travel restrictions and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Muhyiddin is facing calls to resign as doubts swirled over the support he commands, after the Malaysian king rejected his request to declare a state of emergency to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, the International Trade & Industry Ministry said Muhyiddin will chair on Nov. 20 the Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) which will have the participation of all 21 APEC economic leaders.

“Malaysia is making history by transforming APEC’s usual ways of doing business and convening a majority of APEC Meetings in a fully virtual-format,” it said.

The Southeast Asian nation, which will be hosting APEC for the second time, said the summit is expected to launch the region’s Post-2020 Vision, the key policy set to replace the “Bogor Goals” which will reach maturity at the end of the year.

The “Bogor Goals”, adopted at the 1994 APEC summit in Bogor, Indonesia, called for all APEC economies to achieve free and open trade and investment by 2020.

Malaysia is facing a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak. It reported 823 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number to 26,565.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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