Malaysia’s perennial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was named prime minister on Thursday, ending a days-long political impasse after inconclusive election results.
His ascension will cap a turbulent political life for Anwar — which has not only propelled him into the corridors of power but also landed him inside a jail cell on corruption and sodomy charges.
“After taking into consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia,” read a statement from the palace of the king, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah.
In the capital Kuala Lumpur, Anwar’s supporters were in a celebratory mood.
“I got goosebumps, seriously,” said 36-year-old Norhafitzah Ashruff Hassan.
“He fought hard to be given the chance to be PM. I hope he performs well and proves his worth,” he added.
“I cannot express in words the ecstatic feeling I have,” said Muhammad Taufiq Zamri, a 37-year-old product manager.
He said, “A sense of optimism now flows and I believe Anwar will lead the country forward.”
Anwar’s multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition won the most seats in the weekend’s election, on an anti-graft message.
But its total of 82 seats was short of the 112 required for a majority.
The king had summoned Anwar and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin — whose Perikatan Nasional bloc got 73 seats — in an attempt to break the deadlock, but no deal could be struck.
For Anwar, the premiership is the culmination of a rollercoaster of 25 years.
The firebrand former student activist was close to power in the late 1990s, as finance chief and deputy prime minister to Mahathir Mohamad.—AFP