Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Anwar Ibrahim has began work as Malaysia’s prime minister after promising to steer a authorities inclusive of everybody within the multiethnic, multireligious Southeast Asian nation.
Anwar clocked in at 9am (01:00 GMT) on the prime minister’s workplace within the nation’s administrative capital Putrajaya on Friday, after being sworn into workplace by the king the day earlier than.
At his first press convention on Thursday night time, the 75-year-old veteran politician sketched out his plans for the nation.
He mentioned he wouldn’t draw a wage and that his authorities would “assure and safeguard the rights of all Malaysians, particularly the marginalised and impoverished, no matter race or faith”.
He additionally pressured the significance of reform.
“We’ll by no means compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of odd Malaysians,” he mentioned on the late-night occasion.
Anwar was named prime minister by the king after an inconclusive election final Saturday that left his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition with essentially the most seats however in need of the bulk wanted to rule. PH will govern the nation in coalition with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), the primary get together within the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, and Barisan Nasional (BN), the alliance that dominated Malaysian politics till 2018 when it misplaced energy for the primary time amid the multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.
Early in his Thursday night time press convention, Anwar took a congratulatory name from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after sharing a video on social media of him chatting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, the primary overseas chief to supply their congratulations. Anwar described Indonesia as a “true good friend” of Malaysia and mentioned he would concentrate on strengthening the 2 international locations relationship.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken additionally provided Anwar and the folks of Malaysia his congratulations, noting the report variety of votes forged within the election,
“We sit up for deepening our friendship and cooperation primarily based on shared democratic rules and respect for human rights and the rule of regulation,” Blinken mentioned. “We stay dedicated to working with Malaysia to advance a free and open, related, affluent, safe, and resilient Indo-Pacific area.”
Anwar’s appointment as prime minister caps a momentous political journey for the person born within the northern state of Penang in 1947. After making a mark as a firebrand scholar activist, the younger Anwar was enticed into the United Malays Nationwide Organisation (UMNO), the dominant get together within the then-ruling BN alliance, the place he rose quickly by way of the ranks.
His shock sacking in 1998 and later imprisonment on prices of corruption and sodomy galvanised Malaysia’s political opposition, fuelled requires reform – referred to as ‘reformasi’ – and contributed to a gradual realignment of the nation’s politics. Anwar endured a second sodomy trial and conviction earlier than he was pardoned in 2018 and launched from jail.
“Solely a person like Anwar may embody Malaysia’s contradictions and switch the nation to a brand new web page in historical past,” mentioned James Chai, a visiting fellow within the Malaysia Research programme at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. “Many would argue he’s exactly what the nation wants. The Reformasi era can breathe a sigh of aid after years of despair.”
Anwar’s PH authorities is the second for the reformist coalition after its final administration collapsed amid pushback from ethnic Malay conservatives after simply 22 months. The nation has been in a state of instability ever since with two prime ministers over as a few years.
Anwar seems to be eager to attract a line below the political manoeuvring and says a vote of confidence to indicate the energy of the brand new coalition would be the first merchandise on the agenda when parliament sits for the primary time on December 19.
“We have now a very convincing majority,” he mentioned.
Shortly earlier than Anwar was sworn in on Thursday afternoon, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin known as on Anwar to “show” his majority, claiming with out proof that his PN coalition had essentially the most help.
The conservative alliance acquired the second most votes within the election with PAS, Malaysia’s Islamic get together, gaining essentially the most seats amongst its members and rising as the only largest get together in parliament.
Muhyiddin himself, who was as soon as in BN and was a part of PH’s 2018 authorities, was appointed prime minister by the king in 2020 after an influence battle inside the PH alliance led to its collapse.
He didn’t maintain a parliamentary vote after his appointment and sought to droop parliament. He survived solely 17 months in workplace earlier than he was introduced down by disgruntled members of UMNO and Ismail Sabri Yaakob took his place.
Ismail Sabri held the job for simply over a yr earlier than calling this November’s election.
To make sure his administration’s longevity, analysts mentioned it was essential Anwar learns the teachings of the primary PH authorities and builds belief.
“Loads will depend upon who he appoints to his cupboard and whether or not they can work collectively,” Bridget Welsh mentioned. “There are lots of classes to be realized from Pakatan Harapan’s first authorities by way of belief constructing, managing expectations and communications. These are issues which are going to be the problem going ahead.”
Anwar has mentioned beforehand that he’ll scale back the dimensions of the cupboard, which had ballooned to just about 70 ministers and deputy ministers in recent times. Welsh mentioned it was essential these appointed had competence and expertise given the challenges dealing with Malaysia, and that it even be reflective of Malaysia’s socioeconomic realities and its youthful inhabitants.
The nation is generally ethnic Malay Muslim and Islam is the official faith however there are important minorities of ethnic Chinese language and Indians, in addition to Indigenous folks.
Race and faith have lengthy been delicate points within the nation and tensions arose throughout the two-week election marketing campaign, with police this week warning Malaysians about posting “provocative” content material.
Jerald Joseph, a Malaysian human rights commissioner till earlier this yr and a long-term campaigner for democracy, mentioned he welcomed the potential for Malaysia to open a brand new chapter, noting that many latest reforms, such because the decreasing of the voting age and automated voter registration, had begun below PH in 2018.
The brand new prime minister ought to concentrate on reforms to parliament, he added, together with guaranteeing the appointment of a impartial speaker and empowering specialist committees.
“Anwar has to show himself like another prime minister,” Joseph informed Al Jazeera. “He has to make reform work. He has to make governance work.”