Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Anwar Ibrahim has begun work as Malaysia’s prime minister after promising to lead an all-inclusive government in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious Southeast Asian nation.
Anwar arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office in the country’s administrative capital Putrajaya at 9am (01:00 GMT) on Friday. oath of office by the king tomorrow.
In his first press conference on Thursday night, the 75-year-old veteran politician outlined his plans for the country.
He said that he would not take a salary and that his government would “guarantee and protect the rights of all Malaysians, especially the marginalized and the poor, regardless of race or religion”.
He also stressed the importance of reform.
“We will never compromise on good governance, anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians,” he said on a late-night programme.
Anwar was named prime minister by the king last Saturday after an inconclusive election that left his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition with the most seats but just short of the majority needed to govern. PH will govern the country in coalition with the main party in Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), and Barisan Nasional (BN), a coalition that dominated Malaysian politics until 2018 when it lost power for the first time. In the midst of a billion-dollar scandal in the state fund 1MDB.
At his Thursday night press conference, Anwar greeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after sharing a video on social media of him talking with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who was the first foreign leader to congratulate him. Anwar described Indonesia as a “true friend” of Malaysia and said he would focus on strengthening ties between the two countries.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken also congratulated Anwar and the people of Malaysia, noting the record number of votes cast in the election.
“We look forward to deepening our friendship and cooperation based on shared democratic principles and respect for human rights and the rule of law,” Blinken said. “We are committed to working with Malaysia to advance a free and open, connected, prosperous, secure and resilient Indo-Pacific region.”
Limitation of Anwar’s appointment as Prime Minister important political journey For a person born in 1947 in the northern state of Penang. After making his mark as a firebrand student activist, the young Anwar was inducted into the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the dominant party in the then-ruling BN coalition, where he rose rapidly through the ranks.
His sudden dismissal in 1998 and subsequent jailing on charges of corruption and sodomy fueled calls for reform – known as ‘reformasi’ – and fueled calls for reform in the country’s politics. Contributed to the gradual reorganization. Anwar faced a second sodomy trial and conviction before being pardoned and released from prison in 2018.
“Only someone like Anwar can embody Malaysia’s contradictions and lead the country to a new page of history,” said James Chai, visiting fellow of the Malaysia Studies Program at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusuf Ishak Institute. “Many would argue that he is exactly what the country needs. The reformist generation can breathe a sigh of relief after years of frustration.”
Anwar’s PH government is only the second for a reformist coalition following the collapse of his last administration amid protests from ethnic Malay conservatives after 22 months. has lived in country A state of instability Since then with two Prime Ministers for several years.
Anwar appears keen to draw a line under political manoeuvering and says a vote of confidence to show the strength of the new coalition will be the first item on the agenda when parliament sits for the first time on December 19.
“We have a really solid majority.
Shortly before Anwar was sworn in on Thursday afternoon, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin called on Anwar to “prove” his majority, claiming without evidence that his PN coalition had the most support.
The conservative coalition received the second highest number of votes in the election, with the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), winning the most seats among its members and emerging as the largest party in parliament.
Muhyiddin himself, who was once in the BN and was part of PH’s 2018 government, was appointed prime minister by the king in 2020 after a power struggle within the PH coalition led to its collapse.
After his appointment he did not have a parliamentary vote and demanded the suspension of parliament. He survived only 17 months in office before being brought down by dissident members of UMNO and replaced by Ismail Sabri Yacoub.
Ismail Sabri only held the job for a year before calling an election this November.
To ensure the longevity of his administration, analysts said it was important that Anwar learn the lessons of the first PH government and build trust.
Bridget Welsh said, “A lot will depend on who he appoints to his cabinet and whether they can work together.” “Much can be learned from the first government of Pakatan Harapan in terms of trust building, management of expectations and communication. These are the things that are the challenge going forward. ,
Anwar previously said he would reduce the size of the cabinet, which in recent years had swelled to about 70 ministers and deputy ministers. Welsh said it was important that those appointed had the capability and experience given the challenges facing Malaysia, and also reflect Malaysia’s socioeconomic realities and its young population.
The country is mostly ethnic Malay Muslim and Islam is the official religion but there are also significant minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians as well as indigenous peoples.
Race and religion have long been sensitive issues in the country and Tension builds during two weeks of campaigningPolice this week warned Malaysians about posting “inflammatory” content.
Gerald Joseph, a Malaysian human rights commissioner until earlier this year and a long-term campaigner for democracy, said he welcomed the potential to open a new chapter for Malaysia, noting that many recent reforms, such as the voting age Decriminalization and Automatic Voter Registration, started in 2018 under Ph.
He said the new prime minister should focus on reforms in parliament, including ensuring the appointment of a neutral speaker and empowering expert committees.
Joseph told Al Jazeera, “Anwar has to prove himself like any other prime minister.” “He has to do reform work. They have to make the government work.