Thursday Dec 1, 2022
Thursday Dec 1, 2022

Reformist leader Anwar named prime minister of Malaysia


Nepalnews
AP
2022 Nov 24, 13:06, KUALA LUMPUR
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim shows his inked finger to the media after voting at a polling station in Seberang Perai, Penang state, Malaysia on Nov. 19, 2022. Malaysia's king on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, named Anwar as the country's prime minister, ending days of uncertainties after divisive general elections produced a hung Parliament. (AP Photo)

Malaysia’s king on Thursday named reformist opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as the country’s Prime Minister, ending days of uncertainty after divisive general elections produced a hung Parliament.

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said Anwar will be sworn in as the nation’s 10th leader at the palace at 5 p.m. (0900 GMT) at the palace.

Anwar’s Alliance of Hope led Saturday’s election with 82 seats, short of the 112 needed for a majority. An unexpected surge of ethnic Malay support propelled Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s right-leaning National Alliance to win 72 seats, with its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party emerging as the biggest single party with 49 seats.

The stalemate was resolved after the long-ruling bloc led by the United Malays National Organization agreed to support a unity government under Anwar. Such a tie-up was once unthinkable in Malaysian politics, long dominated by rivalry between the two parties. Other influential groups in Borneo island have said they will follow the king’s decision.

The palace statement said the king was satisfied Anwar is the candidate who is likely to have majority support but didn’t give details of the new government.

Police have tightened security nationwide as social media warned of racial troubles if Anwar’s multiethnic bloc wins.

Anwar’s rise to the top will ease fears over greater Islamization. But he faces a tall task in bridging racial divides that deepened after Saturday’s poll, as well as reviving an economy struggling with rising inflation and a currency that has fallen to its weakest point. Malays form two-thirds of Malaysia’s 33 million people, which include large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

Jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim reacts to supporters as he leaves a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 16, 2018. (AP Photo)
Jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim reacts to supporters as he leaves a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 16, 2018. (AP Photo)

It marked a second victory for Anwar’s reformist bloc. It won 2018 elections that led to the first regime change since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957. But the government collapsed after Muhyiddin defected and joined hands with UMNO to form a new government. Muhyiddin’s government was beset by internal rivalries and he resigned after 17 months. UMNO leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob was then picked by the king as the prime minister.

Many rural Malays fear they may lose their privileges with greater pluralism under Anwar. Fed up with corruption and infighting in UMNO, many opted for Muhyiddin’s bloc in Saturday’s vote.

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Reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim Prime Minister Malaysia Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah Muhyiddin Yassin United Malays National Organization UMNO
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