KUALA LUMPUR – The news on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (picture) appointment as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister has gone worldwide.
Major news outlets around the world highlighted the appointment – marking the end of a political impasse following the 15th General Election (GE15) last Saturday which resulted in an unprecedented hung Parliament, which also received a wide international media coverage. It also marked the end of almost three decades of struggle for Anwar to see this day.
Anwar, 75, was appointed by King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah after His Majesty chaired the Malay Rulers’ special meeting at the Istana Negara (National Palace) on Thursday morning.
Among media organisations that flashed the news on Anwar’s appointment are BBC, CNN, Xinhua, CGTN, Nikkei Asia, Indonesia’s Antara News and Singapore’s CNA. Reuters, Al Jazeera and other international news agencies too delved into the appointment.
“Anwar Ibrahim named Malaysian PM after post-election crisis”, BBC article in its website read.
In another article headlined “Anwar Ibrahim: The man who fulfilled his goal to lead Malaysia”, BBC chronicled Anwar’s political struggle over the span of more than 20 years and his rise to the country’s top job.
“But the road ahead is still one that will be filled with challenges for Mr Anwar, who must knit together a workable governing coalition – and will undoubtedly face difficulties in his promotion of a more pluralistic, inclusive Malaysia, in the face of rising Islamism”.
Reuters ran at least four stories related to Anwar’s appointment to the premiership with the first one titled “Malaysia’s Anwar becomes prime minister, ending decades-long wait”.
South China Morning Post (SCMP) highlighted the news with headline “Opposition leader no more: Anwar Ibrahim is Malaysia’s 10th prime minister”.
Quoting Ngeow Chow Bing, director of the Institute of China Studies in the University of Malaya, SCMP reported that Malaysia-China ties to remain steady with “room for improvement and enhancement” under Anwar’s leadership.
“In contrast to his major rival Muhyiddin, Anwar has more international exposure and he will devote more energy into international matters,” Ngeow told This Week in Asia, adding that he expected the new administration to have “more initiatives in foreign policy”.
“While Anwar is known to have good ties with American politicians and officials, and is generally seen as America-friendly, “that does not really suggest much in terms of his policy approach towards China”, Ngeow said noting that the new prime minister was “well received” by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other Beijing officials during a visit in 2018.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s CNA published a commentary piece by political observer James Chin titled: “Snap Insight: Anwar finally becomes Malaysia PM – his success depends on who he includes in his Cabinet”.
Chin too noted Anwar and his administration will face an uphill task in rebuilding the country’s economy.
“The economic portfolios will be the trickiest, since the worst case scenario for Anwar’s administration is economic slowdown. Malaysia will be facing strong economic headwinds in 2023, while people ache for economic recovery after years of pandemic-induced hardship.
“Anwar must deliver the goods and keep the economy on track – or else.
“He won’t be only fighting off criticism about not having Malays in charge. There are worse political consequences when PH’s main backers – the urban population – were most hurt by the pandemic’s economic fallout and are counting on a strong economy,” he said.
People’s hopes are up, Malaysia stocks and the ringgit are soaring with optimism. But Anwar may have limited control if sluggish growth hits the global economy,” Chin said in the article.
The market on Thursday market also reacted positively to Anwar’s appointment.
Bursa Malaysia rallied to a near three-month high today, with the key index rising by 4.04 per cent, on bullish market sentiment.
At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) jumped 58.38 points to end the day at 1,501.88 compared with 1,443.50 at Wednesday’s close.
The market bellwether, which opened 7.18 points higher at 1,450.68, its intraday low, thereafter moved in an upbeat momentum throughout the day and hit an intraday high of 1,502.11 in late trading.
Market breadth was bullish with advancers hammering decliners 981 to 197, while 256 counters were unchanged, 899 untraded, and 84 others suspended.
The brisk trading in the market saw turnover increasing sharply to 6.87 billion units worth RM4.19 billion versus 2.68 billion units worth RM1.63 billion on Wednesday.
Anwar, 75, was sworn in at the National Palace at 5pm, Thursday. – Bernama / pic credit: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia