Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anwar in triumphant return to parliament



Anwar in triumphant return to parliament

Anwar in triumphant return to parliament

Malaysia’s leader in waiting Anwar Ibrahim returned to parliament as a lawmaker Monday, and vowed to give former nemesis Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad space to get on with running the country.

MPs applauded as Anwar took the oath of office following his weekend local election victory, a sight that would have been unthinkable just months ago when he was an opposition leader languishing behind bars.

The former deputy premier’s remarkable political resurrection was triggered by his alliance’s shock election victory in May, which toppled a corruption-riddled coalition that had ruled Malaysia for six decades.

Following the triumph, Anwar was pardoned and released from jail, where he had been imprisoned since 2015 on widely criticised sodomy charges, and is now the presumptive successor to the country’s leadership.

Mahathir, 93, has pledged to hand power to Anwar within two years.

‘Unlikely alliance’

The deal was struck when the pair, whose up-and-down relationship has long loomed over Malaysian politics, formed an unlikely alliance to take on the government of Najib Razak.

Anwar needed to be elected as an MP again to succeed Mahathir, and he cruised to a thumping victory in Saturday’s poll in Port Dickson, where his opponents included a former aide whose sodomy accusations landed him in jail.

It is the first time that Mahathir – who, during a first stint as premier, sacked Anwar and had him thrown in jail – and his former foe have been in the same government since the 1990s.

Anwar, wearing a traditional black Muslim cap, brushed aside questions about when he will become premier.

“That’s very important because some of the decisions that have to be made by the prime minister and the cabinet are key, fundamental decisions of policy,” the 71-year-old told reporters.

After their fallout, Anwar became a prominent opposition leader at the head of a reformist alliance. But Mahathir himself turned on the party he once headed as corruption allegations mounted against Najib, and later teamed up with Anwar.

Since his defeat, Najib has been charged over the alleged plundering of state fund 1MDB. He denies any wrongdoing.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused