Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s Prime Minister on Thursday, November 24, 2022. This feat crowns his three-decade political journey from a disciple of veteran leader, Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner convicted of sodomy, and opposition leader.
His appointment concludes five days of unmatched post-election chaos. However, it could usher in a new instability with his rival, Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who challenged Anwar to prove his majority in parliament.
Both men failed to win a majority in the election, but the constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, appointed Anwar after speaking to several lawmakers.
Anwar’s coalition, known as Pakatan Harapan, won the most seats in Saturday’s vote with 82, while Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional bloc won 73. They needed 112; a simple majority to form a government.
The long-ruling Barisan bloc won only 30 seats which is the worst electoral performance for a coalition that had dominated politics since independence in 1957.
Malaysia’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, named Anwar as the nation’s 10th leader after disclosing that he was satisfied that Anwar is the candidate who is likely to have majority support.
The constitutional monarch plays a largely ceremonial role but can appoint a premier he believes will command a majority in parliament.
Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy in which kings are chosen in turn from the royal families of nine states to reign for a five-year term.
Anwar takes over at a challenging time. The economy is decelerating and the country is divided after a stiff election that placed Anwar’s progressive coalition against Muhyiddin’s mostly conservative Ethnic-Malay, Muslim alliance.
The stock market and the Malaysian currency surged following news of Anwar’s appointment.
Police have tightened security nationwide as social media posts warned of racial troubles if Anwar’s multiethnic bloc won.
Anwar’s party has urged supporters to refrain from celebratory gatherings to avoid risk of provocation.
Anwar Ibrahim’s rise to the top was a victory for political reformers who were locked in a battle with Malay nationalists for days after a contentious general election on Saturday.
Anwar took his oath of office in a simple ceremony at the national palace that was broadcast on national television.
PM Anwar Vows To Heal Divided Nation And Economy
The newly appointed Malaysian Prime Minister has vowed to heal a racially divided nation, fight corruption and revive the economy that is struggling with the rising cost of living.
In his first news conference, Anwar said he would form a unity government comprising his Alliance of Hope that won 82 seats, the National Front with 30 seats and a bloc from eastern Sarawak state with 23 seats.
He said that would give him a majority of 135 seats, with other smaller blocs expected to join in.
“There is no question about my legitimacy,” Anwar said after his rival, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, disputed that he has majority support.
Anwar noted that his government will propose a vote of confidence when Parliament reconvenes on December 19, 2022.
Anwar intimated that he wishes his victory will bring new hope for Malaysians longing for a more equitable nation, and assured majority Malay Muslims that they have nothing to fear.
Additionally, he stated that his priority will be to strengthen the economy as it faces an expected slowdown next year and fight rising inflation.
“Malaysia is more than six decades old. Every Malaysian regardless of ethnicity, religious belief or region, particularly Sabah and Sarawak, should not be left to feel that they are ignored in any way. None should be marginalized under my administration.”Ibrahim Anwar
Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island are among two of the country’s poorest states.
Anwar declared Monday a public holiday to mark his bloc’s victory.
Anwar was a former deputy prime minister whose sacking and imprisonment in the 1990s led to massive street protests and a reform movement that became a major political force.
Today marked his reformist bloc’s second victory. Its first being the historic 2018 polls that led to UMNO’s ouster and the first regime change since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957.