Anwar Ibrahim is M’sia’s prime minister elect

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Anwar Ibrahim is Malaysia’s prime minister elect.

This is after five days of ongoing negotiations which has seen Malaysia’s Agong, or king, meet with the leadership of almost every significant party in Malaysia.

Strange bedfellows

Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition has become the government, and is expected to form a unity government, likely with Barisan Nasional and the East Malaysian governments.

At around 1:30pm, the Istana Negara issued a statement confirming that Anwar would be offered the role of Malaysia’s 10th prime minister.

According to the New Straits Times, this new alliance will see PH nominate a prime minister, with BN nominating a deputy prime minister.

It also leaves open the possibility of East Malaysian involvement, with the aim to bring about a “well represented unity government that would last for the next five years”.

Anwar had been confident that he could assemble a government even before the full results of GE15 were revealed in the morning of Nov. 20.

Anwar will now achieve the culmination of a 24-year journey to regain the summit that he was cast down from.

A deputy prime minister under Umno until 1998, he was charged with corruption and sodomy and spent nearly 10 of the next 24 years in jail.

In 2018, PH won the election on an anti-BN platform. Anwar, who was still in prison during the election, received a royal pardon and later won a by-election in Port Dickson to enter Parliament.

Agreeing to a power-sharing deal with Mahathir Mohamad, the same man who had him arrested, he was again thwarted when Mahathir resigned in early 2020, allowing Muhyiddin to come to power.

Knives out

Anwar has beaten out Muhyiddin Yassin for the role, the man who became prime minister during 2020’s Sheraton Move.

Coming to government in 2018 as part of PH’s seminal toppling of BN as government, Muhyiddin then joined with BN to topple PH and supposedly prevent Anwar from becoming PM.

After having achieved the prime ministership, Muhyiddin was himself overthrown when Umno leaders forced him to step down and became the dominant party in their partnership in August 2021.

Muhyiddin himself is an old Umno hand, having risen to the position of deputy president before leaving to form Bersatu with Mahathir Mohamad. He has said that GE15 will be his last.

Muhyiddin has been thwarted for now, but the coalition he put together seems to have displaced BN and Umno as the preference of the Malay electorate in Malaysia.

Narrow leads

For now, Anwar leads what appears to be a fragile governing coalition.

He has promised to focus on political stability, but so did his opponent.

The Agong met with PH and PN leaders on Nov. 22, then BN and East Malaysian leaders on Nov. 23.

But after days of uncertainty and anticipation, some sense of political stability has returned to Malaysia. With a challenging domestic and economic environment ahead, not a moment too soon.

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Top image via Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook