Photo by [The Jakarta Post]
Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister by King Sultan Abdullah last Thursday. After the electoral process produced a hung parliament.
It has been a rough road for the new Prime Minister. He was made to wait three decades for the top job in the Malaysian government. During his political career, he served as Deputy Prime Minister and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on corruption charges, amongst others.
As reported by The Guardian, “The 75-year-old has tasted political triumph and defeat, led street protests for democratic reforms and strung together a multi-ethnic opposition coalition while behind bars”.
HJ Badlishah Sham bin Bahrain, the President of the Malaysian IKRAM Organisation, believes Ibrahim’s appointment as PM will usher in a new dawn for his country. He continues by stating the importance of having a united and stable government in the upcoming years as the world is facing multiple issues.
“He’s an international statesman in his own right. He speaks English fluently, and he’s able to articulate his thoughts and his speeches very well … We have a person who is respected not only in our country but also respected internationally … I hope he will perform well according to expectations and even beyond expectations”.
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The King’s Decision
The King’s decision to appoint Ibrahim came after the electoral process produced a hung parliament.
Ibrahim managed to secure the most votes against opposition parties. However, he fell short of winning the majority vote of the Malaysian Parliament, which amounts to 112 seats.
Therefore in a case such as this, the King has the discretion, as is his constitutional right, to appoint a Prime Minister who will take control of the majority of the MPs in Parliament.
Bahrain said this “is the first time it happened in Malaysia. Never before had no party or coalition managed to surpass the simple majority number of 112 seats. So that’s why now the pressure is on the King to be able to appoint somebody whom he thinks, because he is also part of the Constitution, commands the majority of the MPS in the parliament”.
In this election, the King announced he wanted a more inclusive government representing people from different economic, ethnic groups and religious backgrounds in Malaysian society.
The Monarchy System in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the King is appointed on a five-year rotation system. Nine Sultans govern the states in the country, and each one is allowed to assume the role of King.
According to TRT World, Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy at all state levels. The King serves as the head of state, commander of the armed forces and the top cleric of the majority Islamic population.
The current King has earned immense praise for being a “down to earth person”. He visits local restaurants, specifically fast food chains such as KFC. According to Bahrain, he has been seen helping accident victims in his hometown of Pahang.
Bahrain said, “He [the King] wants to ensure the government is for his people. For the people of Malaysia, [he wants] a government that is inclusive and will also be able to raise the voices of everybody. Nobody is going to be left behind”.