The nomination of Anwar as prime minister on Thursday has sparked a controversial election season in Malaysia that has seen the fall of political titan Mahathir Mohamad, benefiting from of the church left and without fighting among friends, caused the majority. from the conviction of former prime minister Najib Razak on charges including money laundering and abuse of power.
“This is a coalition government,” Anwar said on Thursday evening at his first press conference as prime minister. In between Malay and English, he promised to eradicate the corruption that has plagued Malaysian politics in recent years and thanked supporters for standing by him. many years.
“We will support the rights of all citizens,” he said. “And we want all citizens to work with us.”
Earlier today, Malaysia’s king announced that he has agreed to appoint a former president as the country’s 10th president. In Malaysia, a democratic republic with a constitutional monarchy, the king is registered as the head of government.
Time is a comeback for Anwar, 75, a world-renowned figure whose political rise, fall and comeback has spanned generations. He now faces the daunting task of leading a nation of 32.5 million as it deals with a divided electorate, a global economic downturn, and regional violence. land east of China and the United States.
Anwar founded the country’s Reformasi political movement, which has been united since the 1990s for justice and equality. He is also well known as a supporter of Muslim democracy and has expressed admiration for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was once seen as a moderate Democrat. Islam is the state religion in Muslim-majority Malaysia, but other religions are widely practiced.
This Malaysian worker was arrested and imprisoned. Now he is in power.
A former prime minister under Mahathir, who was later considered to be his bitter rival before they reconciled, Anwar has worked hard for years to reach the country. the political process. He also received two long prison terms for sodomy and corruption – convictions that Anwar said were politically motivated.
As he left his press conference, Anwar uttered a phrase that has been a rallying cry throughout his political career. “Good morning!” he shouted before being hurt by the supporters. Fight until you win.
Anwar’s reformist multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan (PH), or Alliance of Hope, won 82 seats after last week’s election. The organization is one of the largest groups but is still many seats shy of the 112 it needs to form a majority. He challenged Perikatan Nasional (PN), a far-right party that won 73 seats, to convince voters – along with the country’s king, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang – that he had the right to form a government. before.
The new president said his work was done with the support of two main parties, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, the regional party that won 23 seats, and Barisan Nasional, the conservative party. which has governed Malaysia for most of its post-independence history. Barisan Nasional, which said on Thursday that it will not join the PN-led government, won 30 seats in the last election, putting it in the position of kingmaker.
While Anwar could prove victorious, he now has to work to win the trust of the conservative Muslim community who consider him too liberal, analysts say. He announced a promise to clean up the government and create equality, but he could find himself influenced by the party he joined to govern.
Anwar opposes the recognition of ethnicity as a political system that was the hallmark of the previous Barisan Nasional-led government. The policies, which favored Muslims, were credited by some analysts to creating a broad middle class in Malaysia. But critics criticize the laws for fueling racial discrimination, driving young people from Malaysia’s Indian and Chinese minorities out of the country, and leading to eating money is not good.
In the lead-up to the election, PN leader and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin spoke out against Christians saying that Anwar’s organization was working with Jews and Christians to “Christianize ” Malaysia. Anwar criticized his rival’s comments as wanting, repeating that Muhyiddin was trying to “use hate propaganda to divide the truth in Malaysia.”
After the announcement of Anwar’s appointment, Muhyiddin took to the media and questioned his candidate’s policies. Anwar said on Thursday evening that he welcomes the PN to work with his party, but it was not immediately clear whether Muhyiddin plans to accept the invitation.
“Polarization [in Malaysia] is still strong,” said Bridget Welsh, a research associate at the University of Nottingham’s Asia Research Institute-Malaysia.
Despite their support, many Malaysians welcomed the new presidential election, which allowed them to put an end to two years of political turmoil that included the resignation of two presidents, allegations of power grabs and snap elections. during the country’s summer monsoon.
After the polls were closed and it became clear that no one group could command a majority alone, confusion spread over who would lead. The king called party leaders to the palace for a closed-door meeting, pushing back his decision day by day.
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“We have been waiting for some stability, for freedom to return, for a while,” said Adrian Pereira, a labor rights expert from the western state of Selangor. Voters are still keen to see how power will be shared, “but right now, it’s a win-win situation,” he said.
Among the biggest surprises of the election was the support for the Malaysian Islamic Party, known as PAS, which more than doubled its seats in parliament, from 18 to 49. The party, which was run by Muhyiddin’s PN., Advocates for Islamic rule in Malaysia and has emerged as a business force in recent years, forming alliances with others who support the rights of Malay-Muslims.
When Anwar’s party will rule, PAS will be the largest party in the lower house of parliament.
Before Anwar was sworn in on Thursday evening, PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang publish a statement thank the voters for their support. He said the party’s “71 years of struggle in Malaysia have been recognized by the people,” he said.
James Chin, a professor at Australia’s University of Tasmania who studies Malaysian politics, said he was “gobsmacked” by the election success of PAS, which he saw as a broad influence on politics. Islam in Malaysia.
While Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia have long promoted themselves as moderate Islamic countries, this may now change, Chin said. PAS is strongest in rural areas, he noted, and there is early evidence that they are gaining support from new voters, including young Malays. Liberal and non-Malay-Muslim voters are now worried that the powerful PAS is set to expand its power, including across the country’s education system.
“I know that PAS has strong support in the Malay heartland. … But I still don’t know how fast they can expand,” Chin said. “No one does.”
Ding reports from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Ang from Seoul. Hari Raj in Seoul contributed to this report.