Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the tenth Malaysian Prime Minister

Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the tenth Malaysian Prime Minister

Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the tenth Malaysian Prime Minister

Anwar Ibrahim makes history as the tenth Malaysian Prime Minister

Longtime Malaysian statesman Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the Southeast Asian nation’s palace made the announcement on Thursday, ending a long deadlocked election campaign.

Following the meeting of state rulers and in line with the Malaysian constitution, the king appointed Anwar as the Southeast Asian nation’s tenth prime minister. The king said in an official statement that Anwar would be sworn in at 5pm local time.

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

“It is important that our nation is free from political instability as the country needs a strong and stable government to build the country and strengthen the economy.”

He has asked the elected Members of Parliament to serve the nation well and expressed gratitude to state rulers for their help as well as insight into the resolution of the crisis.

Anwar’s appointment ends a wait of more than 20 years for the former deputy prime minister who has served as opposition leader for two decades amid prison terms and political coups.

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Social media erupted as Malaysians conveyed “tahniah” or congratulations to Anwar. Others wrote “Daulat Tuanku” or “long live the king” on Facebook and Twitter, following the king’s decision.

Some netizens said they were “closing up for the day” or “leaving the office early” to watch the swearing-in at the Istana Negara, the royal palace.

“It’s about time,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another said his parents, who had witnessed Anwar’s political struggles, wept over his appointment.

Anwar, was deputy to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s before he was jailed for corruption and sodomy.

Malaysia-listed shares were in the green ahead of the announcement, but took another leg higher shortly after with the benchmark KLCI up 3%. Telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd was among the biggest gainers, sitting more than 7% higher as rubber glove maker Top Glove climbed 6%. Genting Malaysia also rose 5.16% and CIMB rose 3.45%.

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

Malaysia’s general election on Saturday produced the nation’s first hung parliament, prompting the king to ask leading coalitions to present their alliances on Tuesday to form a government and nominate his preferred prime minister.

Anwar Ibrahim one of the campaign trail during Malaysia’s 15th general election.

Getty Images | Getty Images News | Getty Images

But Tuesday’s meeting yielded no results, instead causing chaos in royalist coalitions such as Barisan Nasional over which leading coalition they would support.

In Saturday’s election, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition – the largest in the country – won the highest number of parliamentary seats with 82, but still fell short of 112, the number required to form a government. The incumbent ruling coalition Perikatan Nasional was in second place with 73 seats.

Parties and coalitions must win a simple majority of 112 seats in parliament, out of 222 seats up for election, in order to form a government.

Malaysia has been in political turmoil since Anwar’s Pakatan won the 2018 election, ending the 60-year rule of Malaysia’s dominant Barisan Nasional coalition.

Barisan failed to be re-elected after former prime minister and former Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak fell from grace for his involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Najib has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But just as Anwar was poised to take the lead in 2020, some Pakatan members defected to form the rival coalition, Perikatan Nasional. The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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