Long-serving Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister, the Southeast Asian nation’s palace announced on Thursday, ending a long-running electoral impasse.
After meeting with state rulers and in line with the Malaysian constitution, the king appointed Anwar as the Southeast Asian nation’s tenth prime minister. Raja said in an official statement that Anwar would be sworn in at 5 pm local time.
“Whether you win or lose the election, I ask that you stand together for our beloved country,” he said, according to a CNBC translation.
“It is important that our country is free from policy instability as the country needs a strong and stable government.”
He has asked the elected members of Parliament to continue to serve the nation well and expressed gratitude to the state rulers for their assistance as well as insight towards resolving the crisis.
Anwar’s appointment ends a wait of more than 20 years for the former deputy prime minister, who has been leader of the opposition for two decades amid prison terms and political coups.
Malaysia-listed stocks climbed 2% higher with the benchmark KLCI index trading after two negative sessions. Shortly after the announcement, telecom conglomerate Axiata Group Bhd was up 7.45% higher, and rubber glove maker Top Glove was up 6.15% in the afternoon session. Genting Malaysia was higher by 5.16% and CIMB by 3.45%. The Malaysian ringgit strengthened slightly against the US Dollar and was last settled at 4.5080.
Malaysia’s general election on Saturday produced a hung parliament, prompting the king to present his coalitions by 2pm local time on Tuesday to form a government and nominate his preferred prime minister.
To form a government the parties and coalitions must win a simple majority of 112 seats in the parliament to capture the 222 seats – but none of the coalitions were able to do so.
The election – Malaysia’s 15th general election – resulted in the country’s first hung parliament after four years of political turmoil. The Southeast Asian nation has had three prime ministers in three years.
Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan, the largest opposition party, won the election in 2018, ending Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule. In Saturday’s election, it won the most parliamentary seats at 82, but still fell short of the 112 needed to form a government.
The current ruling coalition Perikatan Nasional was second with 73 seats. The party’s chairman Muhyiddin Yassin was one of the prime ministers in recent years, when he and other members of Pakatan Harapan defected in 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.
The collapse of the Pakatan government led to defection.
Pakatan’s leader, Ibrahim, was in the 1990s a deputy to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was jailed for corruption and sodomy.
Malaysia was thrown into political chaos after Najib Razak, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and ex-chairman of Barisan Nasional, was embroiled in the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Najeeb is sentenced to 12 years in prison.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.