December 10, 2022

Malaysians celebrate Anwar Ibrahim's ascension to the premiership |  Politics news

Malaysians celebrate Anwar Ibrahim’s ascension to the premiership | Politics news

For supporters of Anwar Ibrahim, his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia is a long time coming.

The 75-year-old opposition leader secured the top job in the Southeast Asian country on Thursday after its king stepped into the political deadlock that followed last weekend’s inconclusive general election and named him the country’s 10th prime minister.

It was a remarkable comeback for Anwar, who has spent nearly three decades in opposition, including 10 years in prison on sodomy and corruption charges he claims are politically motivated.

Many Malaysians responded on Twitter in disbelief to Mofreh.

Twitter user @itsraenu_ wrote: “I was at the airport when our 10pm was announced.” “I heard people screaming and I saw people grinning from one ear to the other.”

Twitter user @CHKen_2 wrote: “Anwar’s reappearance is something that will inspire many generations to come.” “I waited 24 years for this, went through all kinds of political backstabbing and even had to endure jail time – but she never gave up on his principles. He kept believing.”

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, seemed poised to take the top job in 1998 before he was removed from the government after a disagreement with then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad over his handling of the Asian financial crisis. Anwar was then charged with sodomy – a crime in Malaysia – and corruption. Tens of thousands took to the streets in defense of the charismatic leader and his calls for “reform,” or reform.

But he was imprisoned the following year.

Anwar succeeded in obtaining an acquittal of sodomy charges in 2004, but was imprisoned again in 2015 on similar allegations. From prison in 2018, he orchestrated an opposition coalition and even joined forces with his former mentor-turned-rival Mahathir to oust then-Prime Minister Najib Razak amid a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at state fund 1MDB.

At the time, Anwar was appointed the official prime minister-in-waiting but was rejected again when renewed clashes with Mahathir brought down their government. Amid instability, Najib’s United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which voters strongly rejected in the 2018 vote, has returned to government, though Najib has been jailed after the first of five 1MDB-linked trials.

For Anwar’s supporters, his rise to the top after decades of turmoil is a testament to the power of perseverance.

Twitter user @aidarazman wrote that Anwar “taught us to never give up on dreams”. PM at 75? We have a lot to test.”

“It’s hard not to be emotional when watching this, knowing the challenges he and his family faced,” @edwardkuruvilla wrote, posting a photo of Anwar’s swearing-in ceremony. “I hope your tenure will be wonderful,” he added.

Many of the new leader’s supporters also derided Mahathir, who is now 97 and blamed for thwarting Anwar’s ambitions. The former prime minister failed to defend his seat in Saturday’s elections, failing to even win the 12.5 percent of the vote required to recover the thousands of Malaysian ringgit he paid as an election deposit.

“May God make Mahathir live long enough to see Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister of Malaysia,” wrote one Twitter user, @nsyakinah.

“Don’t forget that Dr Mahathir didn’t just live to see his deposit wiped out in the elections and his only political aim of the past 30 years, which is to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from becoming prime minister, finally happen…but as a former prime minister, he will,” a user wrote on Facebook. @amirulruslan on Twitter: “You will be invited to the swearing-in as well.

@mhmmgrgie wrote: “What a year it has been.” Najeeb goes to jail. Mahathir loses his deposit and now Anwar is prime minister. History would be an understatement…”

Anwar’s supporters also took a moment to appreciate his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who they say was instrumental in his rise.

Twitter user JustinTWJ called the 69-year-old the “mother of the Islahiyya”, citing her role in leading Anwar’s Islahiyya movement after his imprisonment and her role in rallying the coalition that brought down Najib. “I can’t imagine the power she has to do it all.”

Twitter user @tsimitha wrote: “This amazing woman who was the heart of the Reformasi movement made this day happen! Women are born leaders!”

For his part, Anwar said on Twitter that he would assume the duties entrusted to him with “the utmost humility”.

“Without your support and effort, we would not have been able to achieve that day,” he added.