Longtime Malaysian statesman Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the Southeast Asian nation’s palace announced an end to a protracted election stalemate on Thursday.
After a meeting with state rulers and in accordance with the Malaysian constitution, the king appointed Anwar as the Southeast Asian nation’s tenth prime minister. The king said in an official statement that Anwar would be sworn in at 5 p.m. local time.
“Whether you lost or won the election, I ask that you stand together for our beloved country,” he said, as translated by CNBC.
“It is important that our nation is free from political instability because the country needs a strong and stable government.
He asked the elected members of parliament to continue to serve the nation well and expressed gratitude to the state rulers for their help and insights to resolve the crisis.
Anwar’s appointment ended a more than 20-year wait for the former deputy prime minister, who spent two decades as opposition leader amid prison terms and political upheavals.
Shares listed in Malaysia rose after two negative sessions, with the benchmark KLCI index trading 2% higher. Shortly after the announcement, telecoms group Axiata Group Bhd gained 7.45% and rubber glove maker Top Glove rose 6.15% in the afternoon session. Genting Malaysia rose 5.16% and CIMB was 3.45% higher. The Malaysian ringgit strengthened slightly against the US dollar, last trading at 4.5080.
Malaysia’s general election on Saturday produced a hung parliament, prompting the king to ask leading coalitions to present their alliances by 2pm local time on Tuesday to form a government and nominate their preferred prime minister.
Parties and coalitions need to win a simple majority of 112 seats in parliament, out of the 222 seats up for grabs, to form a government – but none of the coalitions have managed to do so.
The election — Malaysia’s 15th general election — resulted in the 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 2018 election, ending a 60-year rule Barisan Nasional. It won the highest number of parliamentary seats in Saturday’s election, with 82, but still fell short of the 112 needed to form a government.
The incumbent ruling coalition Perikatan Nasional was in second place with 73 seats. Party chairman Muhyiddin Yassin has been one of the prime ministers in recent years after he and other members of Pakatan Harapan defected to form Perikatan Nasional in 2020.
The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.
Ibrahim, the Pakatan leader, was former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s deputy in the 1990s before he was jailed for corruption and sodomy.
Malaysia has been thrown into political chaos after former Malaysian prime minister and ex-Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Razak fell from grace following his involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
This is the latest news. Please check for updates.
— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.