Malaysia’s King Appoints Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister

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Anwar Ibrahim
Anwar Ibrahim (Photo: Star Malaysia)

Malaysia’s King has named reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister, ending uncertainty in the country after recent elections caused a hung parliament.

King Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah told the media that Anwar would be sworn in late today.

Anwar’s selection concludes a three-decade political career that began as a protégé of senior leader Mahathir Mohamad and progressed to protest leader, prisoner convicted of sodomy, opposition leader, and, finally, prime minister.

A general election on Saturday produced an unprecedented hung parliament, with neither of the two main alliances, one led by Anwar and the other by ex-premier Muhyiddin Yassin, able to obtain enough seats in parliament to form a government.

The king had given political parties until 2 pm on Tuesday to put together alliances needed for the majority, however, candidates failed to do so after the incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition refused to align with either.

In light of this, King Al-Sultan Abdullah said on Tuesday that he would choose the country’s next prime minister, deciding upon and announcing Anwar Ibrahim today.

The election uncertainty threatened to prolong political instability in the Southeast Asian country, which has had three prime ministers in three years, however, Anwar told Reuters in an interview before the election that he would seek “to emphasize governance and anti-corruption, and rid this country of racism and religious bigotry” if appointed premier.