For many young Malaysian citizens, the vote taken to elect the new Prime Minister of the country on Saturday 19th November 2022 was an important day. Many rushed to the voting stations, eager to take a stand and make an impactful change that the nation was in much need of. Social media was filled with infographics encouraging every single youth legally old enough to vote – detailed explanations of why the country needed a change and ensuring youth that their vote will make an impact if they all came together and made a difference.
Following the voting day, many eagerly waited for the results in the politically unstable country. With the rivals going head to head, the youth of the country were wishing for a change while some hoped for the Prime Minister to remain the same. After five days of dreadful waiting, the results finally came in as a shock with both rivals Anwar Ibrahim and Muhiyyudin Yassin being tied up and neither party won the majority - a first in the history of Malaysia.
As a result, the constitutional monarch King Al-Sultan Abdullah had to make the tough choice of selecting the better choice for the nation, and after hosting discussions with several lawmakers of the country Anwar Ibrahim was officially appointed as the 10th Malaysian Prime Minister.
The rise of Anwar’s Political Journey
Becoming a politician has always been destined for Anwar whose first political journey started as a student career activist leading several Muslim youth groups in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Following an arrest in his young political journey, Anwar made his first mainstream political appearance by joining the Malaysian Nationalist Party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Anwar’s first big political success came in 1993 as he was appointed as Deputy Minister 1993. This success was not well-received by the Prime Minister at the time, Mahathir Mohamed which led to Anwar being fired from Mahathir’s cabinet finally in 1998 Award was expelled from UMNO.
This rivalry and disagreement led to Anwar rising against Mahathir and starting a pro-democracy movement and soon enough he was arrested and detained with allegations of corruption and sodomy, which is an offence punishable for up to 20 years in Malaysia.
While this jail sentence soured Anwar's political career to great lengths, his fighting strength was not shaken as he partnered up with Mahathir in 2018, while still behind bars, in order to overthrow Najib Razak whose administration is widely popular for the 1MDB case where severe corruption and money laundering took place of the Malaysian Sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD).
After successfully overthrowing Najib Razak, Mahathir became the Prime Minister of the country again which finally led to Anwar's freedom from the long jail period.
After decades of struggle, fighting, long arrests and protests, in November 2022 Anwar finally becomes the Prime Minister of the country. And one of the first pledges of the newly appointed PM was the pledge to not take his salary to stand with the Malaysians who are struggling as the country’s economic state has been struggling following the COVID-19 pandemic among several other reasons. And with his first words, he also made it clear that he is focused on the future of the nation rather than dwelling on the past.
With this new appointment, many celebrated and took this as a win as many believe that someone who suffered so much political injustice and has been fighting for the betterment of the nation since their own youth, will now be the voice of reason and change Malaysia for the better!