Anwar Ibrahim makes history as Malaysia’s tenth prime minister

Longtime Malaysian statesman Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the Southeast Asian nation’s palace made the announcement Thursday ending a long-running deadlock in the election.

After meeting with the state rulers 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 would be sworn in at 5pm local time.

“Whether you lost or won in the election, I ask you to stand together for our beloved country,” he said, according to a translation from CNBC.

“It is important that our nation is free from policy instability as the country needs a strong and stable government.”

He has asked elected MPs to continue to serve the nation well and thanked the rulers of the state for their help and insights in resolving the crisis.

Anwar’s appointment closes a more than 20-year wait for the former deputy prime minister who has been opposition leader for two decades amid prison sentences and political coups.

Stocks in Malaysia were in the green before the announcement, but took a step further shortly after with the benchmark KLCI index rising 3%. Telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd was among the top performers, rising more than 7%, while rubber glove maker Top Glove climbed 6%. Genting Malaysia was also up 5.16% and CIMB was up 3.45%.

The Malaysian ringgit also rose more than one percent against the dollar to 4.5070.

Malaysia needs to question whether it should tolerate 'fanatical extremist' views: Anwar

Malaysia’s general election on Saturday led to the country’s first hung parliament, prompting the king to ask leading coalitions to present their alliances at 2pm local time on Tuesday to form a government and nominate their preferred prime minister .

Parties and coalitions must secure a simple majority of 112 parliamentary seats, of the 222 seats up for grabs, to form the government – ​​but none of the coalitions succeeded.

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

Malaysia was thrown into political chaos after former Prime Minister and ex-chairman of Barisan Nasional, Najib Razak, fell out of favor over his involvement in the billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Najib has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakistani 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 still fell short of 112, the number needed to form a government.

The incumbent government coalition Perikatan Nasional is second with 73 seats. The party’s chairman Muhyiddin Yassin has been one of the prime ministers in recent years, after he and other members of Pakatan Harapan defected in 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakistani government.

Anwar was a deputy to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s before being thrown in jail for corruption and sodomy.

– CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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