The three-decade wait is finally over. Opposition party leader Anwar Ibrahim has finally taken oath as the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia. It was not easy for Anwar Ibrahim to fulfill his dream of three decades. Had to cross the path of a thorny friend. Sometimes he has been thrown out of politics, sometimes he has to go to jail on charges of homosexuality.
Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia appointed Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister. He took oath as the tenth Prime Minister of the country at 5 pm local time on Thursday. After taking the oath, he said, I will shoulder the responsibility entrusted to me with complete humility and confidence.
In the first tweet after taking the oath of Prime Minister, he said, I will shoulder this important responsibility with the party based on the will and conscience of the people.
National elections were held in the country last Saturday. But none of the two main rival alliances got a single majority. In this election, the country got a hung parliament for the first time. Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won a maximum of 82 seats in the election. And Muhyuddin Yasin’s party Perikatan Nasional (PN) got 73 seats. No party secured the required 112 seats to form a government in the 222-seat parliament.
On the other hand, the currently ruling coalition Barisan Nasional won 30 seats in the election. But no party could prove a majority as they decided not to support any coalition. As a result, the political situation is more complicated. A special meeting between the Malay rulers was held on Thursday (24 November) at 11am local time.
In this situation, the responsibility of ending the political deadlock fell on the Sultan of the country. The constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, then sat down with the leaders of the political parties and proposed the formation of a coalition government. He appointed Anwar after talking to several lawmakers. He also consulted previous heads of government regarding the appointment of the Prime Minister.
Anwar took over at a challenging time. Currently, Malaysia’s economy is slowing and the country is divided after a bitter election that pitted Anwar’s progressive coalition against Muhyiddin’s mostly conservative ethnic-Malay, Muslim coalition.
The market rose after the political deadlock ended. The ringgit posted its best day in two weeks and equities rose 3 percent. Anwar, 75, has repeatedly been denied the prime ministership despite coming very close to winning over the years. He was the Deputy Prime Minister in the 1990s and was expected to become the official Prime Minister in 2018.
Anwar Ibrahim spent almost a decade in jail on charges of homosexuality and corruption. However, he termed it as a motivated complaint due to political vendetta.
After taking office, Anwar’s supporters hope his government will restore historic tensions between ethnic Malays, the Muslim majority and ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.
Anwar told Reuters in an interview ahead of the election that if appointed prime minister he would seek to emphasize governance and anti-corruption efforts and rid the country of racism and religious bigotry.