Malaysian Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will become the prime minister, marking the culmination of his political journey fraught with scandals and lengthy prison terms. The decision comes after days of post-election deadlock.
Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah has approved the appointment of Anwar as the prime minister following deliberations in the aftermath of an unprecedented hung parliament.
“After taking into the consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia,” a palace statement said, according to AFP.
Though Anwar’s Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan party won the largest share of seats in the election, the party does not have the majority. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be replaced by Anwar as the prime minister on Wednesday.
Anwar had first served as Malaysia’s deputy prime minister in the 1990s. He was expected to become the prime minister following in the footsteps of his mentor Mahathir Mohammad. However, the presumptive prime minister fell from grace and was nearly obliterated in Malaysian politics.
Deemed Political Successor of Mahathir
The once the deemed political successor of Mahathir had served several years in prison on sodomy and related charges. The Opposition figurehead was arrested in 1998 on corruption and sodomy charges. His arrest had come after his infamous fallout with his former mentor Mahathir. Human Rights Watch has called upon the government to release him saying the case against him is politically motivated.
Anwar had a shot at becoming the prime minister after his mentor-turned foe Mahathir came out of retirement following the fall of Najib Razak. Mahathir and Anwar stitched together an alliance in 2018 to replace Najib and the understanding was that he would become prime minister when Mahathir retires. As part of the deal Anwar was granted a royal pardon in 2018.
However, the deal failed in 2020, once again denying Anwar the chance to become the prime minister.