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

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants