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,” he 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.”

He has asked elected members of parliament to continue serving 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.

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 must ask itself if it should tolerate 'fanatical extremist' views: Anwar

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

Parties and coalitions must win a simple majority of 112 seats in parliament, out of 222 seats up for election, to form the government – but none of the coalitions managed to do so.

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

Malaysia was thrown into political chaos after former prime minister and former Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak fell from grace with his involvement in the multibillion-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 Pakatan government.

The Southeast Asian nation had 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 required to form a government.

The incumbent ruling coalition Perikatan Nasional was in second place 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 defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

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

— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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