Anwar Ibrahim makes history as tenth Malaysian prime minister

Anwar Ibrahim made history as the tenth prime minister of Malaysia

Malaysian President Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the Southeast Asian nation’s parliament made an announcement on Thursday ending a long-running election moratorium.

After a meeting with government officials and in accordance with the Malaysian constitution, the king appointed Anwar as the tenth prime minister of the Southeast Asian country. The king said in an official statement that Anwar will be sworn in at 5 pm local time.

“Whether you lose or win the election, I ask you to stand with our beloved country,” he said, according to CNBC.

“It is important that our nation is not unstable in policies as the country needs a strong and stable government.

He asked the elected members of parliament to continue to serve the nation well and expressed gratitude to the state administration for their help and understanding regarding the solution to this problem.

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Anwar’s appointment has been awaited for more than 20 years by the former deputy prime minister who served as opposition leader for two decades between prison terms and political coups.

Listed stocks in Malaysia were in the green before the announcement, but took another leg higher shortly after the benchmark KLCI index up 3%. Telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd was among the top gainers, sitting more than 7% higher as rubber glove maker Top Glove rose 6%. Genting Malaysia also rose 5.16% and CIMB rose 3.45%.

The Malaysian ringgit also jumped more than a percent to 4.5070 against the greenback.

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Malaysia’s general election on Saturday produced the nation’s first hung parliament, prompting the king to ask the leading parties to show their unity at 2pm on Tuesday, to form a government and appoint a prime minister of their choice.

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Parties and unions need to win a majority of just 112 seats in parliament, out of 222 nominated seats, to form a government – but none of the parties are able to do so.

Malaysia has been in political turmoil since the opposition, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition – the country’s largest – won the 2018 election that ended Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule.

Malaysia was thrown into political chaos after former prime minister and former Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak fell from grace over his involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1MDB. Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But Anwar’s rival in the leadership race, Muhyiddin Yassin, and other members of Pakatan Harapan are skipping 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.

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The defections led to the fall of the Pakatan government.

The Southeast Asian nation has since had three prime ministers including Muhyiddin.

In Saturday’s election, Pakatan won the highest number of parliamentary seats with 82 but fell short of 112, the number needed to form a government.

The ruling party Perikatan Nasional was second with 73 seats. Party chairman Muhyiddin Yassin was one of the prime ministers in recent years, after he and other members of Pakatan Harapan defected in 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.

The defections led to the fall of the Pakatan government.

Anwar, was former deputy prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s before he was jailed for corruption and homosexuality.

– CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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