Anwar Ibrahim named Malaysia’s 10th prime minister

Opinion

SINGAPORE – The wait is over. And it’s a comeback.

Almost a week after Malaysia’s general election, a hung parliament appears to have longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The Southeast Asian nation has secured enough support among various parties to form its next government, ruling out the emergence of more conservative political forces — for now.

Anwar’s appointment as prime minister last Thursday marked a temporary end to a chaotic election season that saw the downfall of political titan Mahathir Mohamad, a surprise victory for the far-right Islamic Party and endless bickering between its so-called allies, fueled by a number of factors. Convictions against former Prime Minister Najib Razak on charges including money laundering and abuse of power.

Malaysia’s king said Thursday afternoon that he had approved the appointment of Anwar as the country’s 10th prime minister after consulting with government officials early tomorrow, and Anwar was sworn in several hours later. In Malaysia, a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy, the king officially names the head of government.

The appointment, which was contested by some opponents, marks a remarkable comeback for the 75-year-old Anwar, whose political inspiration, popularity and return have spanned a generation.

Anwar founded the country’s reformist political movement, which has rallied for social justice and equality since the 1990s. They are also known as supporters of Muslim democracy. Earlier, he expressed his appreciation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; They were once seen as moderate Democrats. Islam is the state religion in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has significant economic and security ties with the United States, but other faiths are widely practiced.

This Malaysian politician was arrested and condemned. He is now at the peak of his power.

Anwar, who was deputy prime minister under Mahathir and was considered a bitter rival before their reconciliation, spent decades trying to reach the country’s highest political office. Along the way, he received support and friendship from international leaders such as former US Vice President Al Gore. He also served two stints in prison for homosexuality and corruption – which Anwar and his supporters say were politically motivated.

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Anwar’s coalition of radical reformers, Pakatan Harapan (PH), or Alliance of Hope, won 82 seats after last week’s election. The coalition is the largest single bloc of the 112 dozen needed to form a majority, but is still several dozen seats shy. The right-wing coalition, which won 73 seats, competed with Perikatan Nasional (PN) to convince voters – as well as the country’s King, Pahang Sultan Abdullah – that it has the power to form the next government.

Anwar’s accession was made possible after Barisan Nasional, the conservative coalition that has governed Malaysia for most of its post-independence history, said it would not participate in the PN-led government. Barisan Nasional won 30 seats in the last election and put it in the reigns.

Analysts say Anwar has been assured of victory, but now he faces a tough challenge to unite the country’s divided voters.

“Polarization [in Malaysia] said Bridget Welsh, research associate at the Nottingham Asian Research Institute-Malaysia. She said Anwar had a “weak authority” at home despite his strong image on the world stage.

Anwar opposes the caste-based affirmative action policies that have characterized previous Barisan Nasional-led governments. Policies that favor Malay Muslims are credited by some analysts with creating a broad middle class in a country of 32.5 million. But critics blame the laws for stoking racial hatred, driving away young Malaysians from India and the country’s Chinese minority, and fostering systemic corruption.

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In the lead-up to the election, PN leader and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin made anti-Semitic remarks that Anwar’s coalition was working with Jews and Christians to “Christianize” Malaysia.

Malaysian Council of Churches Condemned Muhyiddin’s comments and Anwar criticized his rival’s comments as disappointing. “I request Muhyiddin to be a mature leader and not use racial propaganda to divide the reality of pluralism in Malaysia,” he said on Twitter.

After announcing Anwar’s appointment, Muhyiddin held a press conference and asked him to prove that he has the numbers to lead his rival. His coalition has the support of 115 members of parliament, which would be a majority.

Regardless of who you support, the appointment of a new prime minister will allow Malaysians to score points in two years of political turmoil that has included the resignation of two prime ministers, a crackdown on power and a snap election in the middle of the tropics. The rainy season of the country. After the polls closed and it became clear that no single party could command a majority of the vote alone, confusion over who would lead the country spread. The king called party leaders to the palace for hours of closed-door discussions, pushing the decision day by day.

“We have been waiting for some time for some stability, for democracy to return,” said Adrian Perera, a labor rights activist from the western state of Selangor. Voters are still eager to see what coalition Anwar builds and how power-sharing will work, “but for now it’s a relief for everyone,” he said.

Rafizi Ramli, deputy head of Anwar’s party, said on Thursday that the new prime minister would lead a “unity government”.

“We must all move forward and learn to work together to rebuild Malaysia,” he added press release That also urged Malaysians to avoid “provocative” messages or gatherings to lighten political tensions.

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Analysis: Most people do not know enough about Malaysia and its government. Here’s what you need to understand.

One of the biggest shocks in the election was a surge in support for the Malaysian Islamic Party, known as PAS, which doubled its parliamentary seats from 18 to 49 and contested as part of Muhyiddin’s PN., It defends the last Islamic rule in Malaysia and has emerged as a power broker in recent years, forming partnerships with other parties that support Malay-Muslim policies.

With Anwar’s coalition at the helm, PAS will be the single largest party in the lower house of parliament.

Before Anwar was sworn in on Thursday evening, PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang He issued a statement. He thanked voters for their support. “Malaysia’s 71-year struggle is being accepted by the people,” the party said.

James Chin, a professor at the University of Tasmania who studies Malaysian politics, said he was “very surprised” by PAS’s electoral success, saying it reflected the broader growth of political Islam in Malaysia.

Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia have long described themselves as moderate Islamic countries, but that may be changing, Chin said. He pointed out that PAS scored the highest in rural areas, with early indications that it has gained the support of new voters, including young Malays. Liberals and non-Malay-Muslim voters now worry that a strengthened PAS is poised to expand its influence over the country’s education policies.

“I knew that PAS had strong support in the Malay heartland… but I didn’t know that they could still expand so quickly,” said Chin. “Nobody did.”

Katerina Ang reports from Seoul and Emily Ding reports from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Harry Raj in Seoul contributed to this report.



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