New Malaysian PM Ibrahim vows graft fight

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Malaysian Anwar Ibrahim has been sworn in as prime minister, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a convicted sodomy prisoner and opposition leader.

Anwar, 75, has pledged to fight corruption and focus on the economy while making Islam the official religion in the multi-ethnic country and championing the special rights of ethnic Malays.

“Thank goodness because we have seen a change that awaits the Malaysian people,” Anwar told reporters in a late-night speech, hours after he was sworn in by the king who appointed him after an election shortly. conclusive.

“We will never compromise on good governance, anti-corruption, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians,” he said before singing “Reformasi” – his rallying cry for reform during years of opposition.

His appointment ends five days of unprecedented post-election crisis but could usher in further instability with his rival, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, challenging him to prove his majority in parliament.

The two men’s coalitions failed to secure a majority in Saturday’s election, but Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, nominated Anwar after speaking to several MPs.

Anwar’s supporters expressed hope that his government would avoid a return to historic tensions between ethnic Malays, the Muslim majority, and ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

“All we want is moderation for Malaysia, and Anwar represents that,” said a communications official in Kuala Lumpur, who asked to be identified by her surname Tang.

“We can’t have a country divided by race and religion because that will set us back 10 years.”

Anwar’s coalition, known as Pakatan Harapan, won the most seats in Saturday’s vote with 82 while Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional bloc won 73.

They needed 112 – a simple majority – to form a government.

The long-ruling Barisan bloc won just 30 seats – the worst electoral performance of a coalition that has dominated politics since independence in 1957.

Barisan said on Thursday he would not support a Muhyiddin-led government although he made no reference to Anwar.

The most immediate issue Anwar will face will be the budget for next year, which was proposed before the election was called but has yet to be passed.

Anwar will also have to broker deals with MPs from other blocs to ensure he can retain majority support in parliament.

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