December 6, 2022

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Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia

Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia

Long-time Malaysian statesman Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the Southeast Asian nation’s palace announced on Thursday that it had ended a long-running election stalemate.

After meeting with state governors and in line with the Malaysian constitution, King Anwar appointed the Southeast Asian country’s tenth prime minister. The king said in an official statement that Anwar will be sworn in at 5 p.m. local time.

“Whether you lose or win the election, I am asking you to stand together for our beloved country,” he said, according to a CNBC translation.

“It is important for our nation to be free from political instability because the country needs a strong and stable government.”

He asked the elected members of Parliament to continue to serve the nation well and expressed his gratitude to the rulers of the states for their assistance as well as insights to resolve the crisis.

Anwar’s appointment comes at the forefront of a more than 20-year wait for the former deputy prime minister who had been opposition leader for two decades amid prison sentences and political upheavals.

Listed Malaysian stocks were in the green before the announcement, but rallied again soon after with the benchmark KLCI index up 3%. Telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd was among the biggest gainers, rising more than 7% with rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove up 6%. Genting Malaysia rose 5.16% and CIMB rose 3.45%.

The Malaysian ringgit also jumped more than 1% to 4.5070 against the dollar.

Malaysia needs to ask itself if it should tolerate opinions

Malaysia’s general election on Saturday produced the country’s first hung parliament, prompting the king to ask the major coalitions to submit their alliances by 2pm local time on Tuesday, in order to form a government and name their preferred prime minister.

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Parties and coalitions must win a simple majority of 112 seats in parliament, out of the 222 that can be captured, in order to form government – but none of the coalitions have been able to do so.

Malaysia has been in political turmoil since the opposition, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition – the country’s largest – won a 2018 election that ended the party’s 60-year rule. Barisan Nasional.

Malaysia plunged into political chaos after the former prime minister and ex-chairman of Barisan Nasional, Najib Razak, fell from grace with his involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Najeeb is sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But Anwar’s rival in the leadership race, Muhyiddin Yassin, and other members of Pakatan Harapan defected in 2020 to form Pacatan Nasional.

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

Since then, this Southeast Asian country has had three prime ministers, including Muhyiddin.

In Saturday’s elections, Pakatan won the most parliamentary seats with 82 but still short of the 112 needed to form a government.

The current ruling coalition, Brikatan Nasional, came second, with 73 seats. One of the prime ministers in recent years has been party chief Muhyiddin Yassin, after he and other members defected from Pakatan Harapan in 2020 to form Prakatan Nasional.

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

Anwar was deputy to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s before he was thrown in prison on charges of corruption and sodomy.

— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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