New Delhi: Malaysia’s king on Thursday named reformist opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as the country’s Prime Minister after days of uncertainties following the divisive general elections which produced a hung Parliament.
According to the Associated Press, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said Anwar will be sworn in later today.
“His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia,” a palace statement read, as quoted by news agency AFP.
Anwar Ibrahim’s Alliance of Hope emerged as the largest bloc in Saturday’s election with 82 seats, short of the 112 needed for a majority. Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s right-leaning National Alliance won 73 seats, wherein its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party became as the biggest single party with 49 seats.
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The Alliance of Hope emerged victorious after other smaller blocs agreed to support Anwar for a unity government. As per the AP’s report, this development is expected to ease worries over greater Islamisation by Muhyiddin government in the multiracial nation, while there are also hopes that reforms for better governance will resume.
Last Saturday’s divisive election caused a hung parliament and renewed a leadership crisis in Malaysia, which has witnessed three prime ministers since 2018.
According to the report, the Police tightened security nationwide as social media warned of racial troubles if Anwar’s multiethnic bloc won.
Notably, Anwar’s reformist alliance had won the 2018 elections leading to the first regime change since the nation’s independence from Britain in 1957. But the government collapsed after Muhyiddin Yassin defected and joined hands with United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to form a new government.
This time around, UMNO reversed its decision to remain in the opposition, saying it will heed the king’s proposal for a unity government.
UMNO’s secretary-general Ahmad Maslan then informed the party’s highest decision-making body has decided to now support a unity government not led by Muhyiddin’s camp.