Anwar Ibrahim named Malaysia’s leader, in comeback for anti-graft reformer


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

Nearly a week after Malaysia’s general election resulted in a hung parliament, longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim The Southeast Asian country has secured enough support among different parties to form its next government, preventing the rise of more conservative political forces — for now.

Anwar’s nomination as prime minister on Thursday marked a temporary end to a chaotic election season that saw the fall of a political titan. Mahathir MohamadSurprising gains for the far-right Islamic party and endless bickering between supposed allies, on a large scale Punishment of disgraced former prime minister Najib Razak faces charges including money laundering and abuse of power.

After consulting with state-level rulers earlier in the day, Malaysia’s king said Thursday afternoon that he had approved Anwar’s appointment as the country’s 10th prime minister, and Anwar was sworn in hours later. In Malaysia, a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy, the king formally names the head of government.

The appointment, which was contested by some opponents, marks a dramatic comeback for Anwar, 75, an international figure whose political rise, fall and comeback has spanned generations.

Anwar founded the country’s reformist political movement, which has been rallying for social justice and equality since the 1990s. He is also known as a supporter of Muslim democracy and has previously praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. which was seen once As a moderate democrat. Islam is the state religion in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has significant economic and security ties with the United States, but other religions are widely practiced.

This Malaysian politician was imprisoned and condemned. He is now on the brink of power.

Anwar struggled for decades to reach the country’s highest political office before reconciling with the former deputy prime minister under Mahathir, who was later considered his bitter rival. Along the way, he gained the support and friendship of international leaders such as former US Vice President Al Gore. He served two lengthy prison terms for sexual assault and corruption – which Anwar and his supporters say were politically motivated.

Anwar’s multiracial reformist coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH), or Alliance of Hope, won 82 seats after last week’s election. The coalition was the largest single bloc, but was still several dozen seats shy of the 112 needed to form a majority. The right-wing Perikatan National (PN) coalition won 73 seats, fighting to convince voters – as well as the country’s monarch, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang – that it had the mandate to form the next government.

Anwar’s entry was made possible after Barisan Nasional, the conservative coalition that has ruled Malaysia for most of its post-independence history, said it would not participate in a PN-led government. Barisan Nasional won 30 seats in the latest polls, putting it in a kingmaking position.

Analysts say that even though Anwar has emerged victorious, he now faces a major challenge in uniting the country’s divided electorate.

“Polarization [in Malaysia] remains strong,” said Bridget Welsh, research fellow at the University of Nottingham’s Asia Research Institute-Malaysia. Anwar has a strong image globally, but has a “weak mandate” at home, she said.

Anwar opposes the caste-based affirmative action policies that characterized previous Barisan Nasional-led governments. Policies favorable to Malay Muslims are credited by some analysts with creating a broad-based middle class in the country of 32.5 million people. But critics have blamed the laws for fueling ethnic animosity, driving young people from Malaysia’s Indian and Chinese minorities out of the country, and creating systemic corruption.

In the run-up to the election, PN leader and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin claimed that Anwar’s alliance with Jews and Christians “Christianize“Malaysia.

Council of Churches of Malaysia protested Muhyiddin’s comments and Anwar criticized his opponent’s comments as desperate. “I call on Muhyiddin to be a mature leader and not use racial propaganda to divide Malaysia’s plural reality,” he said on Twitter.

Following the announcement of Anwar’s appointment, Muhyiddin A press conference was held where he called upon his opponent to prove that he had the requisite numbers to rule. He claimed that his coalition has the support of 115 members of parliament, which would constitute a majority.

Regardless of whether they support him or not, the appointment of a new prime minister allows Malaysians to put a pin on two years of political turmoil that has included the resignation of two prime ministers, accusations of power-grabbing and snap elections in the middle of the tropics. Monsoon season of the country. After the elections were closed and it became clear that no single group could win a majority alone, there was confusion about who would lead the country. The king summoned party leaders to the palace for hours of closed-door deliberations and pushed back his decision day after day.

“We have been waiting for some stability for democracy to be restored for some time,” said Adrian Pereira, a labor rights activist from the western state of Selangor. Voters are still curious to see what coalition Anwar has built and how power will be shared, “but for now it’s a relief for everyone,” he said.

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

“We all need to move forward and learn to work together to rebuild Malaysia,” he added A statement which urged Malaysia to reduce political tensions by avoiding “inflammatory” messages or gatherings.

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

The biggest surprise of the election was the surge in support for the Malaysian Islamic Party known as PAS, which more than doubled its seats in parliament from 18 to 49. A party running as part of Muhyiddin’s PN, Advocate of the eventual Islamic regime in Malaysia and emerged as a power broker in recent years, partnering with other parties supporting pro-Malay-Muslim policies.

If Anwar’s coalition is in power, PAS will be the largest party in the lower house of parliament.

PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang before Anwar was sworn in on Thursday evening Statement posted Thanks to the voters for their support. The party’s “71-year struggle in Malaysia is increasingly being accepted by the people,” he said.

James Chin, a University of Tasmania professor who studies Malaysian politics, said he was “disturbed” by PAS’s electoral success, which he sees as a reflection of the wider rise of political Islam in Malaysia.

While Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia identify themselves as moderate Islamic nations, this is changing, Chin said. PAS made its strongest gains in rural areas, he noted, and evidenced its support from new voters, including young Malays. Liberal and non-Malay-Muslim voters now worry that a strong PAS is positioned to increase its influence, along with the country’s education policies.

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

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

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